[FIFA World Cup 2018] Japan vs. Poland (LIVE COMMENTARY)
This is the 45th match in the FIFA World Cup 2018 taking place I. Moscow, Russia.
Date & Time of Match:
Thursday, June 28
Japan and Poland in the Group at 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET
____Score: Japan 0-1 Poland___
Japan 0 Poland 1: Fair play history made as Nishino’s men scrape through.
Akira Nishino’s call to change his Japan team almost backfired as they progressed on fair play after a 1-0 defeat to Poland.
Japan became the first team to qualify from the World Cup group stages via fair play rankings despite a 1-0 defeat to Poland in which Akira Nishino bizarrely made six changes to an unbeaten team.
The Samurai Blue had beaten Colombia and drawn with Senegal to enter their final Group H match, against already-eliminated Poland, requiring only a point to reach the last 16.
Thank you for joining our coverage today. Until next time, goodbye.
Japan will now have a close eye on the game between Belgium and England later, as they await to find out their opponents in the round of 16. They will face the winners of Group F, while Colombia will face the runners-up.
JAPAN QUALIFY! The final whistle has blown in Samara, where Colombia have defeated Senegal 1-0. Japan advance as runners-up courtesy of a better disciplinary record, with four yellow cards compared to Senegal’s six.
A very surreal end to the game in Volgograd, where Poland bow out of the World Cup with a narrow victory over Japan. Bednarek’s goal shortly before the hour mark led to a nervy finish for Japan, who await the final whistle in the other game between Senegal and Colombia to learn whether they will be in the round of 16.
90′ + 3′ FULL-TIME! JAPAN 0-1 POLAND
90′ + 2′ Japan still knock the ball around defence and this game will finish before Senegal’s clash with Colombia, so there will be a very nervy wait at the end.
90′ + 1′ Three minutes of stoppage time have been signalled.
90′ Into the last few minutes of the game in Volgograd where the group remains delicately poised. Japan, trailing 1-0, currently have a foot in the round of 16 courtesy of a better disciplinary record than Senegal. A goal in either game would change the picture.
88′ Still no desire from either side to attack and Japan really are tempting fate. They have everybody back behind the ball.
86′ Jeers in the stadium as Japan just knock the ball around their defence, while Poland just sit back in defence.
84′ Japan are not really trying to find an equaliser, which is a strange strategy considering an equaliser for Senegal would send Japan home.
82′ An interesting third and final change for Japan, who take Muto off for Hasebe – leaving Honda and Kagawa on the bench.
81′ SAVE! Poland close to a second as Grosicki drills a dangerous low ball into the area which is diverted towards his own goal by Makino before being tipped behind for a corner.
80′ Poland’s second switch is the introduction of Peszko, who replaces Kurzawa.
79′ Double change for Poland, the first of which sees Zielinski replaced by Teodorczyck.
78′ It is incredibly tight in Group G and currently it is Japan’s better disciplinary record that will put them in the knockout stages. They have four yellow cards in total compared to Senegal’s six.
76′ Things have just got worse for Japan, as Colombia have taken the lead against Senegal. Japan now only have the advantage on fair play rulings!
75′ Japan have had the wind knocked out of their sails since conceding and it looks like their best chances of progressing into the knockout stages would be a winning goal for Senegal in Samara.
74′ OVER! A huge chance for Poland to double their advantage as they hit on the counter with Grosicki surging forward, cutting a low ball across the face of goal to Lewandowski but he strikes an effort over the bar.
72′ Yoshida rises to meet a corner but he fails to hit the target with his effort. Japan look short of ideas.
71′ Bad omen for Japan, who have never won a World Cup game when conceding the first goal. They only need a draw though.
69′ With Japan yet to secure their spot in the knockout stages it was strange to see Nishino make six changes to his starting line-up. Questions will certainly be asked if his side bow out as they have not looked as good as they have in previous matches.
67′ Grosicki is the man to take the Poland free-kick, on the opposite side to where they created the game’s opening goal, but Jedrzejczyk is penalised for holding inside the area.
66′ Makino fouls Lewandowski and picks up the game’s first yellow card, while also conceding a free-kick in a threatening position.
65′ Inui, who scored in the 2-2 draw with Senegal, takes the place of Usami.
64′ Japan need a goal and they are looking to the bench to get one. Nishino is set to make his second change.
63′ The goal has come against the run of play, as Japan looked to be increasingly threatening. Poland are here to ruin the party and they are doing exactly that as things stand.
61′ A big goal in the grand scheme of things, as Japan are going home as it stands. They only need a point to qualify but, with the game between Senegal and Colombia still goalless, a defeat here will knock them out.
59′ Kurzawa’s delivery put the ball on a plate for his team-mate but the defending is very poor.
59′ GOOOAL! Poland take a 1-0 lead! Kurzawa curls an inviting free-kick finds Bednarek with room inside the area and he tucks home with ease. It is his first ever international goal in just his sixth cap.
57′ Japan looking much more dangerous in attack than they did in the entirety of the first half but they are still yet to properly test Fabianski.
55′ Muto continues to get the ball in decent positions for Japan but he is showing no intentions of actually passing the ball to a colleague, which is leading to any threat being quickly quelled.
53′ A better break by Japan as the move the ball around well but Muto sees his strike blocked after cutting inside when the better option looked to be teeing a pass acros to a team-mate.
51′ We have settled into the same rhythm that we saw throughout the first half, with Japan dominating possession but not challenging the Poland defence too much.
49′ Japan’s position at the top of Group G is very precarious as they currently have the advantage over Senegal in the fair play rankings. That means it is not just goals that could change things and Japan will need to avoid any silly bookings.
47′ Okazaki is indeed coming off, replaced by Osako.
47′ No changes from either side at the break but Okazaki is down in the middle of the field and looks to be uncomfortable.
46′ Back underway at the Volgograd Arena, where Japan get the second half started.
As it stands, Japan are heading into the round of 16 as group winners ahead of Senegal. However, Poland could ruin their plans by taking the lead and we have already seen plenty of late drama in the tournament. Hopefully the second half improves, as Japan need to be careful.
The referee calls the end of a largely uneventful first half where the scores are still level. Japan know that a point is enough to seal their spot in the knockout stages and they look happy to sit back to defend, without being too expressive in attack. Poland, already out, have been very sloppy on the ball.
45′ + 1′ HALF-TIME: JAPAN 0-0 POLAND
44′ Edging towards the interval and still no signs of an opening goal. Neither side look like they want to win, which is strange considering Japan’s status is not secure and Poland should be looking for redemption.
42′ A decent spell on the ball for Japan and a pass is lofted into the box for Gotoku Sakai. He tries to find room for a shot but is crowded out by the Poland defence.
40′ Both teams have had decent surges into the opposing half but the final ball has been very poor, giving Lewandowski and Okazaki nothing to latch onto.
38′ Poland win a corner as Zielinski tries to feed a ball through to Lewandowski but it is intercepted. Grosicki’s delivery is headed away to Kurzawa, who smashes an ambitious effort well over the crossbar.
36′ Japan seem content with a draw, knowing it would be enough to send them into the round of 16, but that is a very dangerous strategy to adopt.
34′ That Poland chance should serve as a wake up call for Japan as it would have changed the picture in the group significantly. If Colombia draw and Japan lose, Nishino’s side will be heading home.
32′ SAVE! Bereszynski whips a superb cross into the middle where Grosicki heads at goal but Kawashima saves superbly, just about keeping the ball out. The goal line decision system showed it was extremely close.
31′ No goals in either match so, as it stands, Japan would finish as group winners ahead of Senegal.
29′ Still nothing to split the two teams and there has not been too many chances to get excited about either.
27′ Japan haven’t gone undefeated in three consecutive World Cup games since 2002. At the moment, they look in a strong position to equal that record.
25′ Someone really needs to spark this game into life. A Poland goal could do the trick, as it would leave Japan in a precarious position, but there is no sign of any threat.
23′ Poland continue to be very slow on the ball as Kurzawa strikes a shot straight into a defender. They are showing no desire to restore any pride despite their poor World Cup.
21′ Poland win a corner after Grosicki’s dangerous cross into the area but Glik is penalised in the middle for holding a shirt as he headed Kurzawa’s corner towards goal.
19′ Really poor from Poland so far and their heads simply are not in it at the moment. It seems like their thoughts are already occupied on what series to watch on the flight home.
17′ Poland continue to be sloppy with the ball and they have not got going properly. Coach Adam Nawalka is under intense pressure and may require a victory here to have any chance of keeping his job.
15′ Lewandowski is still awaiting his first World Cup goal as he smashes a shot into a defender. It is fair to say he has been disappointing at the tournament so far.
13′ SAVE! Muto continues to pop up in dangerous areas for Japan, forcing a save from Fabianski with a low strike from outside the box.
12′ WIDE! Bednarek sloppily gives the ball away to Muto, who wastes an initial chance, but Japan eventually cross into the middle to Okazaki – who heads wide of the target.
11′ Poland, having started well, are struggling to retain the ball and are being put under pressure by Japan. We still await the game’s first chance.
9′ Japan look to be a little laboured in their performance but it is not surprising given the widespread changes, which seem to have affected their rhythm.
7′ Japan now starting to become more involved in the game as Poland retreat into defensive positions but there is no space for the attackers to exploit.
5′ Poland hit on the break as Lewandowski plays a threaded pass through to Grosicki but his drilled cross back into the middle towards the Bayern Munich striker was not the best, allowing Japan to recover.
3′ A fairly scrappy start to the game and it is Poland who have seen the lion’s share of possession in the opening exchanges.
1′ We’re under way in the Volgograd Arena, where Poland get us started.
The two teams are on the field in Volgograd and the national anthems are about to begin.
Japan have won each of their two encounters against Poland, winning 5-0 in February 1996 and 2-0 in March 2002.
Poland, heading home, also shake things up as Adam Nawalka names five changes to the side defeated by Colombia. Fabianski, Glik, Jedrzejczyk, Grosicki, Kurzawa come in from the start, replacing Szczesny, Piszczek, Pazdan, Rybus, Kownacki.
Despite not yet sealing their spot in the next round, Japan coach Akira Nishino makes six changes to his side. In come Makino, Gotoku Sakai, Muto, Yamaguchi, Usami, Okazaki to take the places of Shoji, Hasebe, Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui, Osako.
Poland subs: Wojciech Szczesny, Bartosz Bialkowski, Maciej Rybus, Dawid Kownacki, Karol Linetty, Lukasz Teodorczyk, Michal Pazdan, Lukasz Piszczek, Arkadiusz Milik, Slawomir Peszko, Thiago Cionek, Jakub Blaszczykowski.
Japan subs: Masaaki Higashiguchi, Kosuke Nakamura, Genki Haraguchi, Keisuke Honda, Yuyu Osako, Naomichi Ueda, Takashi Inui, Wataru Endo, Gen Shoji, Makoto Hasebe, Shinji Kagawa, Ryota Oshima.
Poland XI: Lukasz Fabianski; Bartosz Bereszynski, Kamil Glik, Jan Bednarek, Artur Jedrzejczyk; Grzegorz Krychowiak, Jacek Goralski; Kamil Grosicki, Piotr Zielinski, Rafal Kurzawa; Robert Lewandowski.
Japan XI: Eiji Kawashima; Gotoku Sakai, Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Tomoaki Makino, Yuto Nagatomo; Yoshinori Muto, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Gaku Shibasaki, Takashi Usami; Shinji Okazaki.
Poland are the only side in Group H who know their fate heading into the final game as defeat against Colombia last time out means they will be heading home. They only have pride to play for but could still have a decisive say in who makes it through to the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Japan only need a point to qualify for the round of 16 but they could still experience an early exit. A draw for Colombia against Senegal, accompanied by a Japan defeat, would send them out due to goal difference. The circumstances are likely to change throughout so we will keep you updated on the situation!
Hello and welcome to live text commentary of the Group H match between Japan and Poland at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.