Japan vs Poland Preview: Japanese in need of a point to qualify, could top group

On the final afternoon of Group H there is still everything to play for. Japan, Colombia and Senegal could all progress but who will prevail?

Japan vs Poland Preview: Japanese in need of a point to qualify, could top group
Japan vs Poland preview - in for Wed

Japan will be targeting top spot in this game with Poland already out of the running since losing to both Senegal and Colombia.

It is certain to be an afternoon full of drama with so much on the line for all three sides. 

Poland on the other hand are looking to avoid losing all three of their World Cup group games for the first time. 

 

 

How can Japan progress?

A win or draw will see the Blue Samurai reach the round of 16 no matter the circumstances of the other Group H game. 

If Japan lose they will still advance to the next stage if Senegal beat Colombia. 

However, if Colombia and Senegal draw and Japan lose then the Samurai Blue will be eliminated due to the South American’s superior goal difference earned versus the Poles. 

Should the Senegalese and Japan both draw or lose by the same score, they will be split on fair play points: Senegal currently have five yellow cards to Japan’s three.

 

 

Last time out

Keisuke Honda became Japan's hero once again as he scored in the 78th minute to draw level with co joint-group leaders Senegal. 

This was after Liverpool sensation Sadio Mane and Moussa Wague sandwiched a Takashi Inui curler. 

In Kazan, Poland were on the other end of a 3-0 thrashing. 

Yerry Mina, Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado were the Colombian goal-scorers who kept their nation in the running. 

 

 

Team News

Japan will look to play a side that has started so well for them this World Cup. 

The Blue Samurai were originally tipped to finish bottom by the bookies. 

Honda will be pushing for a spot amongst the eleven after impressing from the bench in the two previous games, however Akira Nishino may look to stick to what has been working for him lately.

Poland have absolutely nothing to lose so could look to ring the changes and try something different as their 'plan a' has not worked all summer. 

Prolific Bayern Munich goalscorer Robert Lewandowski should look to start once again after failing to register his first Russia 2018 goal in either of the previous two encounters. 

 

 

Stats 

Japan have reached the Round of 16 twice before in their history, in 2010 and as hosts in 2002.

Keisuke Honda is the only Japanese player to find the net at three World Cups and is the top-scoring Asian player in tournament history with four.

Poland, who are already eliminated, have not progressed from the World Cup group stages since 1986.

Japan have won both previous encounters with Poland, most recently a 2-0 victory for the Samurai Blue in a pre-World Cup friendly in 2002.

The Blue Samurai have failed to score in four of their last five World Cup games against European opponents (W1 D2 L2), with their only goals coming in a 3-1 victory over Denmark in 2010.