Group H Shootout: Senegal, Colombia and Japan to battle for final day qualification

28 Jun, 2018 13:51
Group H Shootout: Senegal, Colombia and Japan to battle for final day qualification
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© Andrew Couldridge / Reuters

Three teams will duel for two qualification spots in today's afternoon games at Russia 2018, with the winner of Senegal versus Colombia guaranteed a spot in the next round, while Japan will advance if they avoid defeat to Poland.

Japan, the surprise package in Group H, have exceeded expectations at Russia 2018. The team was beset by behind-the-scenes drama ahead of the tournament, having axed their previous coach in April and affording successor Akira Nishino little preparation time.

It looks to have been the correct decision. Japan’s fate rests in their own hands, knowing that a positive result against the underperforming Poles will secure their status in the next round.

In the group’s other game, Colombia need a win against Senegal in the Samara Arena to ensure their qualification with the African side currently in second place in the table, one point ahead of the South American side. A draw in this match, coupled with a Polish victory against Japan, would send both sides in the round of 16.

Should Senegal and Japan both draw their respective matches they will both qualify but the group’s winner will be determined by the Fair Play rule, which means that the team with the least yellow and red cards issued to their players will finish in the the top spot. Senegal currently have five yellows cards to Japan’s three.

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The group winner will face the second-placed finisher in Group G, and vice versa, which will be determined by England’s top-of-the-table clash with Belgium in the Kaliningrad Stadium.