Japan and Poland were booed from the pitch in Volgograd after a farcical end to their final Group H match which saw the Blue Samurai qualify for the last 16 despite a 1-0 defeat.Japan went through by the slimmest of margins – their fair play record – after the last 10 minutes were played out like a training match as both sides settled for the result. They will meet either Belgium or England after reaching the knockout stage for the third time in their history.
When Jan Bednarek scored his first international goal in the 60th minute for already eliminated Poland, the score between Colombia and Senegal stood at 0-0 meaning Japan were going out.
But once news filtered through of Yessy Mina’s 74th minute goal for Colombia the match changed for the worse.
The strike meant Colombia would win the group and Japan were ahead of Senegal despite identical points, goal difference.
A cacophony of boos rang out as hardly any tackles were made in the last 10 minutes as Poland decided any sort of win would be enough and Japan decided not to risk any yellow cards Japan coach Akira Nishino made six changes including bringing in attacking pair Shinji Okazaki and Yoshinori Muto for his World Cup debut. – AFP