Substitute Keisuke Honda equalised with 12 minutes left as Japan twice pegged back Senegal in a thrilling 2-2 draw on Sunday that leaves World Cup Group H wide open.
As it stands, Japan and Senegal have four points after two games, with Colombia and Poland on zero, though they have played a game less.
Here are our player ratings for both sides.
E. Kawashima 4 – The tournament’s worst goalkeeper? Was at fault against Colombia as he let Juan Quintero’s free-kick slip past him and then a pathetic punch was bounced off a gleeful Mane for Senega’s opener.
H. Sakai 6 – Was given the tricky test of silencing Mane and largely kept it together on Japan’s right side. Rarely ventured forward but did a job.
M. Yoshida 6 – Tidy performance from the Southampton centre-back. Led the way statistically with seven clearances to illustrate a no-nonsense display.
G. Shoji 7 – Both teams made glaring errors at the back but the Blue Samurai’s only J-League player in the starting XI was a contrast to the chaotic nature of their penalty box. Calm and collected to repeat the Colombia performance.
Y. Nagatomo 7 – Defensively was deeply troubled by the tricky Senegal winger Sarr but for his silky first-touch and lay-off for Inui’s equaliser alone he warrants a decent mark. Was an outlet on the left as the game grew after initially being pushed back by Sarr.
G. Shibasaki 8 – Produced one of the passes of the tournament so far to pick out Nagatomo from deep in his own half and then combined it with a spectacular foul on Sarr. Patrolled and controlled the midfield in a classy display.
M. Hasebe (C) 6 – The skipper didn’t offer an awful lot in terms of attacking impetus but he provided plenty of energy from midfield, particularly to drop back and help out of his defence.
G. Haraguchi 4 – Atrocious backwards header which fell right on the foot of Sabaly with the Senegal full-back’s subsequent shot eventually being rebounded in by Mane.
S. Kagawa 5 – Looked lively to start with as Japan landed the early punches, but was crowded out by Senegal’s physicality and faded to the background. The star of this team but he failed to shine.
T. Inui 8 – Goal, assist and denied a double by the bar. Enjoyed a great season in La Liga with Eibar and has carried that form to Russia. You knew before the ball left his boot he had wrapped in the equaliser and then smartly pulled back for substitute Honda’s equaliser. So unlucky to smash another curling strike off the bar, too.
Y. Osako 6 – The hero of the Colombia win but the forward let Senegal off the hook on a couple of occasions, notably when he mistimed and air-balled a simple opportunity from close range on the hour. Did produce a nice back heel as Inui struck the woodwork.
K. Honda 7 – Replaced the ineffective Kagawa with just under 20 minutes remaining and snatched a point with a calm finish from close-range. The veteran has scored or assisted seven of Japan’s last 10 World Cup goals.
S. Okazaki 6 – Another run out from the bench as he steps up his recovery from injury and typically added fresh energy as he looked to stretch the Senegal defence. Increased his cap tally for Japan to 115.
T. Usami N/A – Entered the fray with just minutes left as Japan went in search of a winner.
K. N’Diaye 4 – Not a day for goalkeepers. N’Diaye has been exposed as Senegal’s weak link and that fact was exploited as he embarrassingly flapped at a cross in a lead up to Japan’s late leveller.
M. Wague 8 – The 19-year-old made history as he became the youngest-ever player to score for an African nation at a World Cup. Remained supremely calm to stroke home Senegal’s second and linked up superbly on the right with Sarr.
S. Sane 8 – Senegal’s heart is made of concrete as the Sane-Koulibaly partnership added credence to the argument they are the best centre-back duo at this World Cup. Won 12 of his 12 duels against Japan, according to Opta, the most of any player with a 100-per-cent duel success rate in Russia.
K. Koulibaly 7 – The giant defender ticks just about every box for a centre-back and once again he was a tower of strength for Senegal. His quality on the ball is improving as 82 per cent of his 39 passes found their man.
Y. Sabaly 7 – Senegal have a bit of a player on their hands in the shape of left-back Sabaly. Incredible balance and poise as he pirouetted in on the outskirts of Japan’s box.
I. Gueye 6 – Individual pressing and energy from midfield is one of the fundamental facets of Senegal’s play and Gueye epitomised that once more by putting in a decent shift for his side.
I. Sarr 7 – Mane is the headline act for Senegal but Sarr is a rising star. Granted, he’s still a little raw with his final ball requiring a little refinement but his skill and direct-nature is a massive asset for Senegal.
P. Ndiaye 6 – In the side to try and break up opponent’s play and his Senegal-high of two interceptions was a good return.
A. N’Diaye 5 – Was supposed to be the fire blanket but considering how much joy Japan had, the defensive screen didn’t exactly do his job.
S. Mane (C) 6 – Disjointed display from Mane. Fortuitous in opening his World Cup account as he knew very little as the ball ricocheted of his shin.
M. Niang 7 – Proving himself as a useful spearhead for Senegal. Did not stop running, held the ball up, pulled into the channels and then produced a fine flick to assist Wague.
C. Kouyate 6 – Brought on for N’Diaye just after the hour mark to try and harden the midfield. Did his job.
C. N’doye N/A – Senegal looked to go long late on and they brought on the big midfielder to have something to aim for.
M. Diouf N/A – Replaced a hobbling Niang late on.
Panama suffered a heavy 6-1 defeat at the hands of England at the World Cup on Sunday but their fans won the hearts of many at the Nizhny Novgorod.
After the game, Panama fans were seen cleaning up the stands in what has become a trend of sorts at the ongoing World Cup.
Japanese and Senegalese fans were among the first to collect trash from the stands and help in the clean-up.
In fact, Japanese fans were seen cleaning up after their team’s matches even at the 2014 World Cup.
Dejan Lovren said his Croatia team-mate Luka Modric could have won a Ballon d’Or if he was Spanish or German.
Modric, 32, scored a fine goal in Croatia’s World Cup win over Argentina and also converted a penalty against Nigeria.
The midfielder has been a consistent performer for Real Madrid and Lovren believes Modric deserves a lot more attention.
“Modric should be getting more attention as a player. if he had a different nationality, maybe if he was German or Spanish, he would always be one of the top three players and could even win a Ballon d’Or,” Lovren said.
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