Japan milk 'fair play' system in wretched World Cup defeat to Poland

Thibaut Courtois

Both also have the same goal difference, same number of goals scored in group matches and were also equal on all head-to-head records (The match between the two teams on June 24 had ended 2-2).

Despite being a goal down against Poland, Nishino's side spent the last ten minutes of the match passing the ball back and forth rather than going for the equaliser, knowing that they would progress to the next round if the scoreline of Colombia's match with Senegal did not change.

Japan made it through Group H in second place thanks to their players having been shown four yellow cards, two fewer than Senegal, who were eliminated, meaning there will be no African representatives in the knockout phase.

Colombia trained on Friday without James Rodriguez, who is an injury concern, as they began preparations for the round-of-16 World Cup clash against England on Tuesday.

The Poles reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 and more had been expected after they had finished top of their World Cup qualifying group. We'll be at the biggest events bringing you exclusive features and the best interviews.

Senegal's dramatic exit from the World Cup was met with heartache in the capital Dakar on Thursday after the team lost to Colombia, dashing hopes of an African team advancing into the knockout stages.

"We realise that all the teams have very good things, excellent players".

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He said his players were aware of the rules but he had refused to tell them to adapt their game accordingly. "It was incredible to be in this situation and hard for a team to take on", he said.

Didier Drogba admits to being concerned with the state of African football as none of the continent's representatives made it past the group stages at Russian Federation 2018.

And that has suddenly jerked up Malawians because the Flames date the Atlas Lions for the 2022 World Cup qualifier just this September.

"We all knew when we came to the World Cup that these were the rules".

"I think we could have scored a goal in the first half", Cisse said.

But they are not the first - in 1998 France won it but were eliminated in the group stages in 2002.

The elimination of Germany in the first round and several teams failing to shine has left the World Cup wide open.

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