Japan becoming the first side to progress via the fair play rule is the Hublot World Cup Moment of the Day
Coach Akira Nishino defended his negative tactics as his side qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup on their superior fair play record on Thursday, despite being defeated 1-0 by Poland.
On a hot afternoon that witnessed quite a lot twists, Japan somehow managed to secure a place in the knockout stages of the tournament where they will meet Belgium, thanks to Colombia defender Yerry Mina‘s goal in Samara and because they received two yellow cards fewer than Senegal.
Nishino’s instructions for his team were to take the 1-0 defeat and hang in there, once news of Mina’s 74th-minute goal for Colombia came through.
Nishino was happy to see his team over the line, and praised his players for listening to his negative orders.
“The players listened to me and were loyal and determined to keep the status quo,” Nishino said.
“It was just the situation that forced me to make the risky call and we decided not to go on the offence and rely on the other match.
“I’m not too happy about this but the World Cup is such that these things happen and we went through so it was perhaps the right decision.”
Japan have reached the knockout stage for the third time in their history but when Jan Bednarek scored in the 59th minute, his first international goal for the Polish, the scoreline between Colombia and Senegal was at 0-0, meaning Nishino’s team, also the last one left representing Asia, were heading home.
But Mina’s goal thickened the plot. Suddenly Colombia would top Group H and Japan were ahead of Senegal despite the same points, goal difference and goals scored – because of Senegal’s poorer fair play record in the tournament.
Nishino revealed that he brought on midfielder Makoto Hasebe for striker Yoshinori Muto in the 82nd minute in order to give negative orders to his teammates – to stop trying to score and get forward and not to commit any fouls.
“I did tell Hasebe to tell the team to stay put (at 1-0), not to concede any yellow cards and go to a defensive 4-1-4-1,” Nishino said.
Hey everyone, it’s Jay Asser here giving you a bitesize look at what’s going on this morning.
Belgium edged England in the battle of heavyweights to close out the group stage, winning 1-0 on Adnan Januzaj’s stunning goal to top Group G.
Both teams rested some of their top players as the sides entered the match-up with a berth in the Round of 16 already confirmed. They also came into the the game tied atop the group with six points apiece, while having an identical goal difference and the same number of goals scored.
Januzaj broke the deadlock in the second half with a superb finish to ensure Belgium will meet Japan on Monday, while England will take on Colombia on Tuesday.
Japan, meanwhile, pipped Senegal for the final qualification spot in their group despite falling to Poland 1-0, thanks to winning the fair play tiebreaker. Check out talking points from Japan’s clash, including Akira Nishino’s gamble to field a much-altered starting XI nearly backfiring.
In the MLS, Wayne Rooney revealed he’s not moving to America as a way to coast on the back end of his career. “Moving to America and MLS fulfills another career ambition for me. I have the hunger to be a success here and will give DC 100 per cent – as I have always done for every team I have ever played for,” Rooney said.
Steve Smith returned to the field for his first competitive game since the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa and smashed 61 for the Toronto Nationals in a Global T20 Canada competition against the Vancouver Knights. Smith hit eight fours and one six during a 41-ball innings before being stumped.
Elsewhere, Paul Farbrace said Joe Root will remain in England’s side for the Twenty20 internationals against India despite all-rounder Ben Stokes returning to the team.
FEATURE OF THE DAY
Our man Aditya Devavrat picked out the team of the tournament from the World Cup group stage, with familiar names like Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane leading the way. See who else made the team and why.
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Cricket: Ireland v India, second T20I, 19:00
We’re halfway through the tournament in Russia and there’s plenty of action yet to come. Football fans are spoilt for choice when it comes for venues to watch the action.
The Media One hotel have gone all out and transformed garden on 8 into an awesome football fan zone, complete with an air-conditioned tent so that you can cheer on your favourite. All the matches are being shown live on a giant screen in an air-conditioned tent.
Special fan zone food boxes which the culinary team has created for the World Cup, full of favourites like Weiner Schnitzel Strips, tangy BBQ chicken wings, crispy onion rings. Drinks packages including tower of hops as well as buckets of beer deals
World Cup competitions and prizes are on offer throughout the tournament too.
What: World Cup fan zone
Where: Garden on 8, Media One Hotel
When: Until 15th June
Contact: [email protected].