Preview - Japan vs Poland 28 June 18

Started by Harry85, Jun 26, 2018, 05:31 PM

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World Cup Group H
Japan vs Poland
Thursday, June 28th, 2018
23:00pm, (GMT +8 Timing)
Stadium: Volgograd Arena

Last five matches form: L L W W D
Average goals per match last ten: 1.40
Average goals against per match last ten: 1.70
Top Scorer: Shinji Okazaki (50)

Last five matches form: W D W L L
Average goals per match last ten: 2.00
Average goals against per match last ten: 1.40
Top Scorer: Robert Lewandowski (55)

The last of the Group's comes to a close this coming Friday with three of the Group H teams still having a chance of making it through. It was anticipated that Colombia and Poland would be battling it out for the top two spots here, but it hasn't quite turned out that way.

Widely expected to struggle in this Group, Japan have performed above expectations to such a degree that they now need only a point from this closing game in order to ensure they make it through to the knockout stages.

The polar opposite applies to Poland who have been one of the major disappoints of the tournament to date and will be going home regardless of the outcome of this game.

These sides have met just the once in the past with Japan coming out on top in a friendly encounter in 2002.

No injury concerns for either side here. It would be no surprise to see wholesale changes to the Poland starting line up following their woeful display against Colombia which saw them eliminated from the tournament.

Despite their poor form at the finals, Poland are nevertheless still a better side than Japan on paper. Motivation counts for plenty at this level though and we expect a scrapping for their lives Japan to simply outbattle and outwork this dispirited Poland outfit and do more than enough to make it through.

Prediction: Japan 2 - 1 Poland


Half time: 0 - 0
Full time: 0 - 1
Shots: 7 - 8
Shots on target: 3 - 3
Corner Kicks: 5 - 7
Possession: 54% - 46%

Just the one booking in this one with referee Janny Sikazwe taking the name of Japan's Tamoaki Makino.

Japan only needed a point from this game to secure their place in the knockout stages. They could still go through with a loss depending on the result in the Colombia vs Senegal game, which in the end was just as well really.

Poland weren't great in this game, but they were better than in their opening two contests at the World Cup and were more than a match for Japan throughout.

It was Poland who came closest in the first half Kamil Grosicki's well directed header seeming certain to find the back of the net only for Eiji Kawashima to brilliantly claw the ball off the line. 0-0 at the break.

14 minutes into the second half though Poland did take the lead. Rafal Kurzawa's free kick from a central position picking out the run of Jan Bednarek in the area and the big centre half producing an excellent finish on the volley.

Grosicki was continuing to cause havoc down the right-hand side and teed up Robert Lewandowski in the 74th minute, only for the usually clinical front man to blaze over.

That's as close as either side came in the remainder of the game as Japan failed to muster a threat.

Nervous times for Japan in this one, but in the end with Colombia beating Senegal they finished in second spot in the Group and made it through to the knock stages. They will face Belgium in the last 16.

Too little too late for Poland who still finish rock bottom even with this win. They did at least belatedly salvage a little pride though.

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