Japan strolled into the World Cup knockout round despite an uninspiring performance against Poland.
Japan took second in Group H on fair play points over Senegal after falling 1-0 to previously eliminated Poland.
Jan Bednarek scored the only tally of the contest for the European side in the 59th minute, as his boot connected with a free-kick, which sent a shot into the right side of the net.
Poland looked like the better side throughout the contest, as it almost scored late in the first half, but Eiji Kawashima came up with one of the top saves of the tournament, as he used one hand to keep the ball off the line.
Once word got to Japan that Colombia scored to take a 1-0 lead over Senegal, the match came to a stand still.
With Japan avoiding any disciplinary action and Poland already in the lead, the two sides essentially stopped playing for the final 10 minutes.
After walking in midfield, handing passes over to each other, Japan got through Group H, as Senegal couldn’t find a goal in the other Group H contest.
Japan takes on the winner of Group G, while Poland leaves Russia with three points in last place.
Man of the Match
Bednarek brought Group H to life with his 59th-minute strike that proved to be the difference in the contest.
Moment of the Match
Bednarek’s goal allowed Poland to leave the World Cup with a victory, and it shook up the standings in Group H.
Match to Forget
Japan didn’t cover itself in glory throughout the match, and the final 10 minutes of holding the ball were not ideal. Japan’s attack led by Shinji Okazaki was less than inspiring in a game it needed to win at the start.