9.38: pm: An African team hasn’t progressed the first group stage in a World Cup for the first time since 1982.

9.33 pm: That save by Kawashima in the first half was pretty special.

9.29 pm: Senegal have become the first team in World Cup history to be eliminated on yellow cards. Japan are the lowest ranked team, apart from hosts Russia, to make it to the last 16.

FT: Fair play was introduced as a tiebreaker for the 2018 finals. Guess there is some advantage to being nice.

FT: Japan have done enough. Senegal have lost in the other game of the group against Colombia. Japan go through because – wait for it – they earned fewer yellow cards. Japan had 3 yellow cards in their earlier games and Senegal have 6 yellow cards. Oh, to go out like this. You have to feel for Senegal.

FT! Poland have won but have Japan won the right to go through to the last 16? We still don’t know.

90 + 2’: Japanese just hitting the ball around, Poland not even chasing it. This is crazy.

88’: This is a tense, tense match.

81’: Still holding on. Japan needed to keep it as it is or score a goal and Senegal need to not score. This is madness.

72’: Inui has comes on. Colombia have scored. If Colombia win and Poland win, Japan will go through on FAIR PLAY – fewer bookings. Japan have had 3 yellow cards, Senegal have 6 yellow cards. WOW.

64’: Japan will now have to push forward with far more verve. The equation has no doubt being conveyed to them by now. The Blue Samurai need a goal or their World Cup journey could end today.

59’: GOAAALLL!!! We have a goal and Poland have scored. As things stand, Japan are suddenly going out. A wonderfully worked free kick made it’s way on to Bednarek’s boot and the finish was absolute class.

53’: Japan going forward a little better bow but Poland will look to attack with rare abandon now. They really have nothing to lose.

46’: The second half begins. There hasn’t been a matchday in which both the matches of the group have gone goalless since 1990. Okazaki is off and Osako is back on. Okazaki was limping a bit and did not look comfortable.

HT: And that’s the whistle for half-time. Japan need one point from this game and they are halfway through to that.

45’: Just one minute of added time. The Japanese fans won’t mind this. A draw means their team stays alive in the competition.

40’: The game has a better rhythm now. Both teams are looking better on the ball. A couple of corners come Japan’s way but they don’t do much with them.

37’: Poland are finding their feet in the game now. Japan being forced to defend as the Poles are going forward well and dominating in this spell.

Have another look at that splendid save:

33’: Super stop by Kawashima. The Kamil Grosicki header was goalward bound but Kawashima, who reacted slowly initally, somehow managed to claw it back before the whole ball went across the line. Outstanding.

27’: No real chances for either side in a while as the game settles into a midfield battle. That suits Japan. A draw will definitely send them through to the last 16.

22’: Poland have an obvious size advantage from set pieces but they need to keep their heads about them.

20’: Japan’s start should cheer up their supporters. Muto and Okazaki have been bright sparks for them.

13’: Another shot at goal from just outside the box. Muto sent it low and fast to the left of the keeper, who was good enough to keep it out. Encouraging signs from Japan.

11’: Okazaki goes close!! Promising moment but his header went just wide. Best chance of the half so far.

5’: Poland putting up a better show today so far. At least, their ball movement it better.

7.29 pm: The anthems are done in Volgograd.

7.26 pm: Japan advances if they win or draw with Poland. It is as simple or as difficult as that. If Japan loses to Poland, Japan can still advance if Senegal beats Colombia.

7.11 pm: Japan has won both their previous encounters against Poland without conceding a goal. They were both friendlies though and it’s been a while since they last played against each other. The last match came in 2002 when Japan won 2-0 thanks to goals from Hidetoshi Nakata and Naohiro Takata.


Japan: Eiji Kawashima, Yuto Nagatomo, Gaku Shibasaki, Shinji Okazaki, Takashi Usami, Yoshinori Muto, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Hiroki Sakai, Tomaoki Makino, Gotoku Sakai, Maya Yoshida

Colombia: Lukasz Fabianski, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Jan Bednarek, Jacek Goralski, Robert Lewandowski (capt), Grzegorz Krychowiak, Kamil Grosicki, Kamil Glik, Bartosz Bereszynski, Piotr Zielinski, Rafal Kurzawa

06:20 pm: Hello all and welcome to The Field’s live blog of the final set of matches in Group H – one of the most fascinating groups in this World Cup. The highest ranked team in the group has already been eliminated while an Asian and African team are in the best position to progress over an South American team. Who would have thought! Our focus here will be on Japan v Poland, where the Asians look to be the only team from the continent to be in the knockout stages.

Follow Senegal vs Colombia live updates here.