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Japan Advance Via Fair Play Rule, Despite Loss

2018 World Cup 

Result: Japan 0-1 Poland

Date: 28 June 2018

Venue: Volgograd Arena

Japan advanced to the round of the 16 at the 2018 World Cup, despite losing to Poland in their final Group H clash on Thursday.

The Japanese showed promise in the early stages of the encounter, with Shinji Okazaki and Yoshinori Muto going close in the opening 15 minutes.

However, nothing could separate the sides as Poland, who were already eliminated, showed no real attacking intent in the final third.

Poland had to wait until the 32nd minute for a chance as Bartosz  Bereszynski picked out Kamil Grosicki, who met the cross with a header that was palmed away by goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

Unfortunately, that proved to be the final effort at goal from both sides in the half as Japan were happy to sit back, knowing a point will see them progress.

After a quiet start to the half, Poland broke the deadlock on 60 minutes as Jan Bednarek turned home Rafal Kurzawa's free-kick.

Japan responded by withdrawing Takashi Usami for Takashi Inui, who was on target in the 2-2 draw with Senegl.

Poland squandered a big chance to double their lead on 74 minutes when Grosicki picked out Robert Lewandowski, who fired over the crossbar from close range.

Nevertheless, Japan were unable to find an equaliser in the closing stages as Poland held on for the win.

Despite the loss, Japan still progressed to the next round on the Fair Play rule, having accumulated less yellow cards than Senegal, who boasted an identical goal-difference and goals score record.

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