For the final outcome of Group H, Japan and Senegal head into a decisive encounter in Ekaterinburg which is key to not just their own Russia 2018 ambitions. For many, the pair’s shared grip on top spot is a surprise with both Colombia and Poland now having very little room for error.
In their 2-1 win over Colombia, Japan were really impressive. Senegal were equally self-assured in a well-earned 2-1 victory over Poland. Another win here and Senegal will be on their way to replicating the glory forged by the nation’s iconic Class of 2002.
Defender Gen Shoji, who was surprisingly chosen to partner Maya Yoshida, enjoyed a strong World Cup debut. Japan will need to make sure they match Senegal’s work ethic and spirit. Lions of Teranga will have to retain that same attitude against the Japanese, as well as being more clinical in the penalty area.
Senegal are undefeated in group-stage matches at the FIFA World Cup. Their four-match unbeaten record is now one clear of the mark set by Germany DR and Wales.
Japan: Eiji Kawashima; Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Gen Shoji, Yuto Nagatomo; Makoto Hasebe, Gaku Shibasaki, Genki Haraguchi, Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Inui; Yuya Osako.
Senegal: Khadim Ndiaye; Moussa Wague, Salif Sane, Kalidou Koulibaly, Lamine Gassama; Ismaila Sarr, Alfred Ndiaye, Idrissa Gane Gueye, Sadio Mane; Mame Diouf, Mbaye Niang.
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