Sports Desk: Japan reached the last 16 of the World Cup by having a better disciplinary record than Senegal – after losing to Poland in their final Group H game.
Akira Nishino’s side finished with the same number of points, goals scored and goals conceded as Senegal, but were shown only four yellow cards to the African side’s six.
Colombia’s 1-0 win over Senegal meant the South American team topped the group ahead of Japan, with those sides facing England or Belgium next.
Southampton defender Jan Bednarek’s well-taken volley from Rafal Kurzawa’s free-kick won the match for Poland, who had been eliminated before the game.
The match became a farcical spectacle in the final quarter, with both sides happy to play the ball around at the back.
Indeed, Japan substitute Makoto Hasebe, who came on with eight minutes remaining, made a ‘card’ gesture to his team-mates to make it clear they were through as it stood.