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Japan booed as it advances on yellow cards despite losing to Poland 1-0

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By Pan Pylas

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Last 15 minutes was a farce. What if Senegal had scored?

33 ( +39 / -6 )

The last 15 minutes of that match was a disgrace, no wonder the fans were booing. Japan pissing around with the ball in their half, and Poland happy to stand and watch them do it. What if Senegal had equalised? I was hoping they would. Japan should be pilloried for this, but instead we just get grinning idiots on the telly excited they got through on fair play. What a joke.

27 ( +39 / -12 )

That was a shameful match. Where is your honor.

Yesterday, Korea made a history by becoming the first Asian team to defeat the no. 1 ranked defending champion in a World Cup match.

The next day, Japan shames Asia by gaming the World Cup rule and wasting time.

Doesn't matter, it's not like Japan will win against Belgium in the next match.

26 ( +49 / -23 )

The Japanese players slowed play down to almost nothing, softly passing the ball back and forth in little triangles in their own end to waste time.

The irony of the fact Japan advance due to 'fair play' rules..

22 ( +27 / -5 )

Very poor performance and don't really deserve the last 16 and only by Senegal losing and less yellows cards was a strange way, Senegal fought until the very last minute.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

The Japanese players slowed play down to almost nothing, softly passing the ball back and forth in little triangles in their own end to waste time.

"My decision was to rely on the other match," Japan coach Akira Nishino said.

That explains a lot. I was wondering why they were dicking around like that. Not being familiar with their style, I had just assumed they didn't have a very aggressive style of play.

Ya gotta do what ya gotta do, I suppose.

15 ( +24 / -9 )

Japan have done great to get out of the group, but they are very unlikely to be able to beat Belgium, assuming they are the next opponents.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

Not exactly in the samurai spirit to peacefully accept a loss just so long as you get to the next round.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

kohakuebisuToday  10:42 am JST

Japan went into the game with Hasebe saying they would play to win, not to draw, a legitimate strategy to ensure automatic qualification.

They did play to win till the last second. The way to win or how to win the game just changed. To "win" for Japan, they had to make sure they don't concede another goal and not get yellow carded.

If japan ignored the obvious facts and rules and concedes another goal to poland, bashing of Japan team would be much worse. Japanese team would be called idiots that aren't aware of the rules. No one would be praising them for "playing till the end."

14 ( +17 / -3 )

now watch Japan go for the "no one understands us routine".... hope they get hammered by Belgium....

12 ( +24 / -12 )

It's funny but a few hours before their match I was going over all of the possible scenarios of Japan making it through to the next round, and a Japanese junior high school girl carefully explained to me about how the yellow card count could propel Japan over Senegal, and she was absolutely right.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Ganbare Japan!Today 06:48 am JST

Unbelievable!! Congratulation to Samurai Blue for making history. Everyone said Samurai Blue couldn’t make the knockout stage, but they got their through “fighting spirit”.

There wasn't much fighting spirit on show in this game, was there.

Belgian has many good individual players, but will be fearful of the Japanese team now.

After watching them do hardly anything for the last part of the game the Belgians must be terrified.

PM Abe said...

There you go about PM Abe again. Strange how such a dull, tedious, forgettable man could make such an impression on anyone.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

The Japanese fans who paid their money and time to travel to Russia, cacophony of boos rang out as hardly any tackles were made in the last 10 minutes as Poland decided any sort of win would be enough and Japan decided not to risk any yellow cards.

Booed by their own traveling fans.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

The Japanese team didn't try to win the game. It was disgraced.

I agreed with JonathanJo and garypen.

The last 15 minutes was a farce. I'll give them Yellow card to each of the Japanese players for not playing if I were referee.

"My decision was to rely on the other match," Japan coach Akira Nishino said. "I'm not too happy about this but ... I forced my players to do what I said. And we went through.

I don't know Akira is right Coach for the team. I was very proud and praised the Japanese team when they draw with Senegal because Senegal team is strongest team in the group. Today game with Poland was really bad. Even one commentator comment about final 10 min and he has no idea what Japanese players are doing. It's shamed. The way they played final 15 min was liked the players who took money from Russia Mafia and throw the game away. The Coach needs to be very careful about his men playing unprofessional way.

Japanese team had some chances to score the goal but failed to pass the ball to team mate and want to score goal by self. I think Honda should be lined up for first half if he can't play full time. Honda has luck in scoring goal and he can score the goal but he was left out of the game.

By the way, the Coach is not good and sleazy and they players are not doing enough. Shame! Shame! Shame!

11 ( +22 / -11 )

Up until that last 10-15 minutes, Japan deserved to advance if they could have scored a goal. And they were creating decent chances. Giving up and spending the last 10 minutes passing the ball around at midfield was cowardly and defeatist. I found myself rooting for Senegal to put in a goal, just to embarrass Nishino and his cynical strategy.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

My objection to Japan's performance isn't on moral grounds, it's entirely pragmatic.

There's nothing wrong with holding on to a result that will take you through. The problem is that there was no guarantee at all that the result they were holding onto would take them through.

Senegal had TWENTY minutes (not 10, @yumster) to score the goal that would have knocked Japan out. Meanwhile Japan were not attempting to score the goal that would have guaranteed they went through. The people saying that other teams would have done the same are completely wrong - if the England team had managed to get knocked out like that, the manager wouldn't have been able to return to the country!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@miss_oikawa

I don't think any other team in the world would have done anything differently

Germany defeated Brazil 7:1 at the semi-final in 2014 precisely because they continued to play hard even after it has become clear that Germany won.

Every team has an obligation to give the very best match at the world cup.

What Japan and Poland did amounted to a match-fixing.

10 ( +29 / -19 )

I think I was good that Japan was few the yellow cards.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Sad to see as a football fan but Japan played by the rules and survived the the group stage fair and square.

I dont see this any different from a basketball player running out the clock

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Safety Japan, played it safe. Anzen daiichi!

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Pukey2

Can someone more familiar with the rules tell me, had Poland scored another goal before full time, would Senegal have gone through to the next round because of goal difference?

Directly copied from the Fifa website:

The ranking of each team in the same group is determined on a two-step approach:

First step: Pursuant to the criteria listed in art. 32 (5) lit. a) to c) of the Competition Regulations.

greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;

goal difference in all group matches;

greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.

Had Poland scored a second goal, Japan would have had a goal difference of -1 at that point. So one more goal by Poland could in fact have eliminated Japan since it could have led to a goal difference of -1 opposed to Senegal's 0.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

A bit boring for the fans watching but other countries' teams would have done the same thing. No point risking getting yellow or red cards if you can just hang on for 15 minutes.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Fair play? It was a shameful game, cheating at the lowest level. A waste of time to watch and the Japanese lost all respect gained in the games before.

9 ( +24 / -15 )

why should they risk qualification by searching for a goal and getting caught on the break just to entertain the neutrals?

Why? Because they had no idea how the last ten minutes of the Senegal-Columbia game would play out. Japan's game ended a minute or two before Senegal's did. Senegal was definitely pressing for a goal. They failed. But had Senegal scored, Japan would have found themselves on a plane home already. Playing that non-aggressive strategy makes sense when one controls one's own fate. Japan, however, didn't control its fate. A goal by Senegal would have been a dagger to the heart. Had Columbia been up 2-0 or 3-0, yes, sitting back and doing nothing would have made sense. With the Senegal result in doubt, Japan needed to keep hunting for a goal.

If Senegal had scored, it would have been just desserts for Nishino, and he'd justifiably be fired. It was a stupendously risky strategy. Yes, it happened to pay off, but any coach who puts his team's fate in the hands of a match hundreds of kilometers away rather than placing faith in his own players to win has no business leading a team.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Belgian has many good individual players, but will be fearful of the Japanese team now. PM Abe said he expects at least “quarter final stage”, and Japan now believes they can do it!! Go Samurai Blue!!

I love the blind optimism. Scrapping through and now thinking the world has suddenly taken notice of Japan as a footballing giant because they limped into the last 16.

I don’t mind the excitement but I swear Japan has already won the World Cup judging from the coverage in Japan. Every time I try to watch a match that isn’t about Japan they somehow turn it into Japan. Thank god for vpn and bbc coverage. Top tier coverage!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

It was funny though that media was talking all week that Japan was playing to win. Nishino went into this game conservatively as there was no Kagawa and Honda with Osako and Inui coming later in the match. That was some high confidence but it worked so no problem for me. Next game, time to go all out. The goal this tournament is making the Final 8. Anything past that is a bonus.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The reason the last two group matches starts at the same time is to prevent match fixing happening again in the world cup (it did happen years ago in a match between two South American nations I think). However, I wonder if there is a communication blackout on those teams playing. With modern technologies like live TV boardcast and mobile phone they can easily know what is happening in the other match and change the way they play immediately. This in my opinion can be considered as a way of match fixing.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Unbelievable!! Congratulation to Samurai Blue for making history. Everyone said Samurai Blue couldn’t make the knockout stage, but they got their through “fighting spirit”.

In other news, from the Guardian: Japan sneak through to World Wup last 16.... Japan scrambled into the knockout stage of the World Cup in rather undignified fashion, courtesy of a goal scored 400 miles away....

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/jun/28/japan-poland-world-cup-group-h-match-report

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-cup/2018/06/28/japan-vs-poland-world-cup-2018-live-score-latest-updates/

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@ Midnight Sun

A lot of us hoped for more Asian teams progressing as well as Japan. Why the nastiness and bitterness on your part?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

My Japanese wife who knows little about the game watched the second half with me and kept asking me why Japan wasn't playing and her final remark was she could have done better on her own.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

What's with all the stupid comments about the tactics of the Japanese coach? Japan only had to draw to go into the last 16 on their own merits.

No one is mocking Japan they are correctly criticizing the Japan team play. There seems to be quite a few posters who have not been following the beautiful game for very long.

Had Japan lost and went out would people still be shouting about Nishino's tactics?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

I’m not a “fan” of the game but do get caught up in the hoopla and enjoy watching some during the WC and Olympic. Every time I learn a little more about the rules but I still can not get a good grasp of how the round robin (is it?) works. So last night my lesson was about the fair play rules, helpfully provided by the commentators on J TV. At first I was bored and mystified when they slowed down to an unproductive crawl but after understanding what was going on it became exciting again as we were waiting to hear if another goal was scored in the other game. I do prefer the excitement of watching them trying hard to get goals but this was interesting too.

“The problem is that there was no guarantee at all that the result they were holding onto would take them through”

But there was also no guarantee that trying hard to get a goal would have resulted in one and would have risked Poland getting a goal instead which they were saying would knock Japan out of advancing.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The objective is to qualify for the next round and they were able to do that. I bet people will still have something to say if they did the opposite and lost. Strategy is also important in winning matches and Nishino's strategy worked.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Sorry for mixing in an American football term which I used with the meaning of “a person who criticizes the actions or decisions of others after the fact, using hindsight to assess situations and specify alternative solutions.” I lived more than half a century before I ever saw a soccer game, ha ha.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I would bet if Poland and South Korea has the same avanrage as Japan did their coach would employ these methods as well...

8 ( +12 / -4 )

"The Japanese team didn't try to win the game. It was disgraced.

I agreed with JonathanJo and garypen.

The last 15 minutes was a farce. I'll give them Yellow card to each of the Japanese players for not playing if I were referee."

That only confirms that you don't know much about football, do you? Nor about its history. Or the rules for that matter!

In 1982 Germany scored against Austria after 10 minutes and then the 2 teams spent the remaining 80 mns passing the ball to one another. That was in the WC and Algeria had to go home due to this Germanic plot; it was the Germanic Confederation at play once again. The rule on last group matches being played simultaneously was introduced because of this match.

The Peeping did not see the match, given he was not around then; but he's read and watched it on YouTube. Perhaps yer could do the same?

7 ( +17 / -10 )

I would have understood if Japan played like this to protect a goal lead. But they were losing!

Fair Play...what a joke!

If two boxers just dance around the ring, they both get points deducted. Same should apply here.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

How disgraceful can you get? "Just go ahead and lose and hope Senegal doesn't score." They advanced on "fair play" points but that was a joke of a match.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Thank god for vpn and bbc coverage. Top tier coverage!

Yep, NHK is as dull as ditchwater while the commercial channels feature C grade celebs and several commentators on each game who all scream at the same time. It's unwatchable.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Japan played by the rules, didn't rely on yellow cards as an excuse to screw over legitimate plays, and made the cut when others did not. Deal with it.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

“absolutely guaranteed that they would not score and rendered them entirely dependent on something happening in another stadium”

I’m thinking that if word had come through that another goal had been scored in the other game while there was still time, Nishino would have given the order to try and squeeze in another goal? As as it was, they had to hang around for a while after the whistle to find out if the strategy had succeeded.

Anyway not not being an avid or knowledgeable fan, I’m not so inclined to do much Monday morning quarterbacking. Just enjoying watching and learning. And in the end, the Bkue Samurai have made history by advancing to the 16, so I’m happy for that.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Yep, that was pretty lame, stayed up to watch Japan play to LOSE!!

Draw I could understand, but when a LOSS gets your through, sorry, time to change this BS rule!

Hell they might as well of allowed Japan into the next round because their fans PICK UP GARBAGE & are nice people!!

Can you imagine if the Senegal match had finished BEFORE the Japan match started, having to watch Japan play for a tie or loss for 90minutes...……

The fans need a refund, this new rule needs a serious re-think, simply NUTS!!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

miss_oikawa

Zichi, it most certainly would have made a difference if Poland had won 5-0. Exactly the reason for what happened.

Yes you are correct and I was not, sorry for that. Had Poland scored a second goal then Senegal would have gone into the last 16 on goal difference rather than yellow cards. Sorry for the confusion.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Wiki Says about Korea: “were able to reach the Round of 16 in the 2010 World Cup”

Korea reached the last 4 of the 2002 WC and finished 4th overall, considerably better than Japan in the last 20yrs

7 ( +8 / -1 )

congratulations for throwing the game because someone else allowed you to qualify? This is open ended match fixing indeed

6 ( +21 / -15 )

There's a saying "work smart, not hard". The same can be said for Futbol.

Why wear yourself out and possibly injure your players when it won't make a difference. Save it for the next round when it will be all or nothing. Those who have not been in battle can not understand these choices.

6 ( +24 / -18 )

@Peeping_Tom

Japan played and went through as per the rules.

And the rule will be revised for the next World Cup due to Japan's abuse of it.

South Korea won, yet they are going home earlier.

Yea, but Korean teams are going up with their heads up and a thumbs up from the defending world cup champion who lost to them.

Not so for the Samurai Blue, the 2018 Japan vs Poland match will forever be remembered as an example of how not to play soccer just like the infamous 1982 West Germany vs Austria match.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Belgiums on the way. New world record will be set. Belgium: 10 Japan: 0

6 ( +12 / -6 )

klausdorthToday 07:54 am JST

The last 10 to 15 minutes ......

... no, it was neither disgraceful nor was it match fixing.

The Japanese coach made a smart decision (at that point) and Japan advanced to the next round.

On the contrary, YES, it was boring and disappointing to see them shuffle the ball left, right, forward (less) and back (more).

Will this work against Belgium, too? I doubt it.

Yes, absolutely nothing wrong with what the coach and players did. Their job is to get through, not to provide entertainment for the neutrals. "If you want entertainment, go to the circus," as a famous Italian manager once said.

However it was a very dangerous tactic and could easily have ended in disaster. Japan has played well in one game (against Senegal) and for 45 minutes against 10 man Colombia. The defence is poor and the goalkeeper unreliable and yet they're in the knockouts while far better teams are going home. That's down to luck and a favourable draw as much as anything else. That's just the way it goes sometimes.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

From another newspaper (which makes me think that had Poland scored another goal, Japan would have been out, providing no more goals were scored in the Colombia-Senegal match):

That controversial approach ultimately worked as Japan, who finished with an identical record to Senegal in terms of points, goal difference and goals scored, progressed to the last 16 because they picked up two fewer cautions. Nishino, however, sounded uncomfortable with a decision that went down badly with the majority of the spectators inside the stadium as the end of the match was played out to whistling and boos.

I told him not to concede any yellow cards, go 4-1-4-1, defensive, and then I told him to tell the team to ‘stay put’. We could not concede another goal.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Congratulations! It was good game!

I hope that Japan wins.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

JT users now saying Japan advanced due to luck and match fixing! Wow, they can never accept the fact that Japan did well since they were tipped to finish bottom of the group.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

All teams knew what they needed to do to advance to the next stage and Japan were playing within the rules (may be not in the pure sporting spirit but that's another question). Japan took the risk of being knocked out if Senegal score in the last few minutes and was rewarded. The team met their objective of advancing to the next round. It would have been nice for the watching public if they have advanced based on winning the matches/scoring goals but that was not the team's objective

6 ( +10 / -4 )

What will be remembered by World Cup fans is not that Japan reached the last 16, but how they did.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Belgium 5 - Japan 0

They will do the opposite of time wasting, wishing that the clock will go faster to stop the embarrassment

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Samurai Japan? More like "Oyabun Nishino and his Big Blue Time-wastin' Crew"

lol this is one of the many reasons soccer sucks at times, time-wasting and diving are just a form of cheating/ bad sportsmanship.

The only way Japan is going to redeem itself is a convincing win over Belgium otherwise their lucky time-wasting label stands in my view.

Poland had something to prove - first time the played up to their potential and the result was still only 1-0

they probably thought that was all that was needed for the win, and it was, Japan did all that was needed , for a loss while riding on Columbias coat tail.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

People hoping that Japan loses to Belgium, hold on to your horses

Lol, bookmarked for posterity.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I watched the game online from BBC2, great HD quality and coverage. You can watch all British TV channels without even a vpn which does not always work or the connection become too slow. Checkout tvcatchup dot com. I've been using it for ages. Only live so no iPlayer replays. I think there's an app too. Works also on my iPad.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Zichi,

Many thanks for letting us know some decent websites.It is much appreciated.

It seemed that Japan was everyone's 'second' team in this tournament due to their honest play and lack of 'simulation.'All that has changed now.

being an England fan I am glad we have managed to avoid them in the next round with all of the luck they have been having it could have ended up in an embarrassing defeat for the Three Lions.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Bending the rules irks both ways

I don’t know if it’s even bending the rules. There is no rule which says you have to play with a positive mindset although the last 15 minutes was appalling.

Canny? Cynical? Sneaky? Risky? If I had bought a ticket for that game, I’d feel a bit robbed. I don’t go for all the boneheaded patriotic face-painting lark and like to be entertained at a football match.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Only by people who are into remembering things by names like “The Shame of ....”

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Azrul Hakim^ "I would bet if Poland and South Korea has the same avanrage as Japan did their coach would employ these methods as well..."

Deflection, deflection, deflection. South Korea, despite being last in their group and knowing the could not go forward, played to win, and won. Same with Poland. Japan said they were playing to win, and in the end chickened out. They cannot defend it, and neither can you, the coach, or other supporters, that is why you have to resort to deflection. Japan canNOT hold it's head high going into the next round. They are likely, and rightly so, going to be booed when they take the field in the next game, and I honestly hope they are. Sorry, but it was an extremely shameful way to end an otherwise decent game, especially after claiming their aim was to go for the goal and win no matter what -- not even settle for a draw.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

They are thru which is what counts.  Poland had something to prove - first time the played up to their potential and the result was still only 1-0.  I thought Japan played pretty well.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

The Samurai Blue are the most successful team in Asia

The most for the past decade. Korea got to the semi-Finals in 2002 and beat Poland, Spain, Portugal and Italy to get there.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This is exactly the point so many people seem unable to grasp... It makes no difference what the score was, whether it was 0-1, 1-1, 1-0, the fact was that with that result Japan would qualify. With 10 minutes left, risking conceding another goal to make it 0-2 would have been just as stupid as conceding a goal to make it 1-1 or whatever.

The Japanese approach is a disgrace for the sport. Not only the last 10 minutes but the entire game they played like a bunch of wimps.

I asked Nadeshiko captain Saki Kumagai about this game and she too noticed that they played like sissies.

Looking forward to see the women play next year :)

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I've been loving the WC back here in London! That was a very dangerous move by Japan. Last night, England played a second strength team and lost so I get Japan's motives. However, Belgium will stuff Japan I think. Belgium are a good team and I can see a 3-0 coming. There's no football today so...erm..um??

5 ( +5 / -0 )

England were playing for a loss against Belgium! How convenient for the JT users to ignore that. Apparently, there are different standards.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The Japanese coach played a better game

Which does not say a whole hell of a lot when you lose! The media is playing it up as "Japan get's through" and the fans here are eating it up.

But how soon they all forget the recent "football" scandal about sportsmanship. What the Japanese team did in the last part of the match was not sportsmanship, it was cowardice, and the coach should get his head handed to him on a platter!

4 ( +15 / -11 )

Another thing I want to mention is the godlike save by Kawashima, I've had my doubts about that keeper but that just might end up as the save of the tournament.

Also, @saitamaliving has a point. I'm more ashamed of by birth country Denmarks performance against France, as that was more clearly a truce with two teams benefitting too much from a draw, and I'm very disappointed Denmark didn't all out attack in the last ten minutes when it was clear we were going through.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

The prediction is that a continental European country will win the WC and that team first action is ending the J dream.

Shameful cowardly performance.

Looking forward to watch the Nadeshiko nxt year :)

4 ( +11 / -7 )

I'm not a neutral but England vs Japan then it would be England. First time for England into the last 16 since 2006.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

once again the world cup has been reduced to europe vs. latin/south america (+ japan). nigeria and senegal were the best hopes for african teams in the round of 16. it'll be interesting to see the quality of play and diversity of teams which advance when the pool is expanded to 48 teams from the present 32.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Can someone more familiar with the rules tell me, had Poland scored another goal before full time, would Senegal have gone through to the next round because of goal difference? In that case, shouldn't Japan have tried harder to score a goal? Or did they think it was too mendokusai?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Pukey2

Can someone more familiar with the rules tell me, had Poland scored another goal before full time, 

Japan needed to draw or win to go into the last 16 on their own merits. Poland wining 5-0 would not have changed the outcome. Japan lost so needed Senegal to lose. Had they won Japan was out. Senegal and Japan ended on the same points and everything equal except Senegal had 6 yellow cards (total fouls) and Japan 3 yellow cards. First time any World Cup team goes into the last 16 purely on less yellow cards. Poland was already out regardless of their win.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

How disappointing. I nodded off during the last 15 minutes.

After the elation of South Korea's fantastic win over Germany, we get this effort.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Reminded me of the NFL in the US.

It was dire but surely not that bad?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Well done to Japan for getting through to the RO16 through smart play! Once again Japan is the top of Asia

4 ( +9 / -5 )

It was difficult game!! I guess that players was very nervous during second half of the game.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It was difficult game!! I guess that the players was nervous during second half of the game.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don’t see there issue you fans have with the Japan team’s performance. After all they did play to win - they played to win the World Cup.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Japan just flushed their reputation down the toilet. Not easy to annoy millions of people all at once but the Boo Samurai did it.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Mu-da: “South Korea is the only Asian team to ever win a team award at a FIFA World Cup when they were voted Most Entertaining Team in 2002 after finishing in fourth place.”

to be fair, while they were entertaining (Japan was, too, in 2002), they would not have made it to the semis with replay technology being used in decisions. They beat spain in a horrible call.

Still, some have tried to deflect in conversations with me, saying “Korea would have done the same!” or some such nonsense when the fact is, while he Koreans are out, they can go home with their heads held high and a sense of pride and accomplishment in the end. Japan is going forward in utter shame, and if you need more proof, how about the fact that almost no one is celebrating and/or talking about it? If Japan flunks out in the next round, they’re only going to be remembered this tournament in shame.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I can understand on a rational level why the Japanese decided to just burn the clock. However, I don't see why the Poles let them do it. The Poles were the ones with nothing to play for but pride. How could they allow themselves to take part in such a tainted match? They should have been pressing to the end, if only to show some gratitude to their fans. If my team were to be in the same position (eliminated whatever the result), I would rather they go out with their best effort. Win lose or draw. Not being a bunch of passive children.

Situations like this show why soccer will probably never really catch on in North America. We hate tie games, hate games that don't have breaks for bathroom/nachos/beer, and hate games that use this kind of 'strategy'.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

miss_oikawa

I think you are missing the real point here. The Japanese team has built up respect and sympathy internationally by their fighting spirit, clean play and enthusiasm as opposed to some other teams. The Blue Samurai spirit was their brand. All this built up image and respect is now down the drain by the cheeky decision of coach Nishino and the Japanese team is now tainted and associated with disgraceful, unsportsmanlike and cowardly behaviour. Nishino shamed and dishonored the Japanese team on this most public stage. A high price to pay, especially as Japan is the upcoming host to the Olympics.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think people are forgetting one very important point. That is should Japan be allowed to obtain live update of the other match so they can decide how they should play. Can this be considered as a way of match fixing? I guess since there is no word from FIFA questioning the result of this match, this kind of practice is OK.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

you never really know what happen if it falls to your shoe, you might do the same thing or worse.

it is easy to say as a outsider. i congratulate japan advance to the next game!

if you read about how many fouls and yellow cards the players received that still leads them to well behavior

players. good luck to the next game with belgium! the ball is round and anything can happen.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Is this the first football match you people have seen in your lives? Playing to hold a result that gets you through to the next round isn't matchfixing or disgraceful, it happens all the time and is part of the game. If anything its Polands behavior that is questionable, they had nothing to play for except trying to take Japan out, and they didn't do so. That's their problem, not Japan.

The real controversy here, as miss_okawa said, is why on Earth Nishino fielded such a bad side making Japan perform far worse than necessary, and give up first place in the group for no reason. A tactically bad match for Japan, but by no means bad sportsmanship or disgraceful, claims like that is completely ridiculous. Who was the victim of Japans bad sportsmanship exactly? Senegal? They could just have drawn their own game and not cared. Poland? They were out anyway and apparently happy to go out with a win, THis so-called "disgrace" is a pretty victimless crime.

3 ( +18 / -15 )

Could care less about soccer but congrats to Japan. Regardless of how they won, I'm sure this makes a lot of people happy, which is always a good thing. There's enough cause for despair in the world.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

 People hoping that Japan loses to Belgium, hold on to your horses. Japan played their second string team against Poland, resting key players. Belgium also brought English fans back to reality.

People aren't hoping Japan to lose because of their skills and talent as a team.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

And today loss to Belgium was for "tactical purposes"

Did not watch the match but this doubtful. England now plays Columbia instead of Japan as it would have it had won this morning. Despite Japan beating Columbia they are the more feared opponent.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It wasn't pretty by any means but they're through and will go all out against Belgium hopefully. Congratulations Japan.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Pukey2

Good site but it is usually so slow and keeps freezing.

Depends on your internet connection speed and the computer you are using. There are other sites and one I used for my domestic games was ronaldo7 dot net Connections usually up about 30 minutes before kickoff. You have to avoid all the spam nonsense if it comes up.

I don't have a TV we use Hikari TV via internet.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think it’s the way they were dicking around playing keep away that rubbed people the wrong way. Nothing wrong with advancing but the triangle passing were like playground bullies keeping the ball away.

What happened to the art of Tatemae? at least look like you’re playing to win even though you’re not. That’s the spirit of Japan, facade and reality.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Samurai Boo

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Zichi, it most certainly would have made a difference if Poland had won 5-0. Exactly the reason for what happened.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Becasue Germany had to win, Japan didn't, and Korea were only playing for pride, just like Poland yesterday.

That was just one example, In majority of the matches in this WC so far, the teams played to win. Korea were playing to WIN and the pride that goes with the WIN. Guess you are fine to loose with no pride as long you get to the next stage, right ?

It obvioulsy won't work like that when progression does not depend on winning. It's exactly the same in the Champions League if you draw 1-1 away and only need a 0-0 at home, teams do not go all out to win the game

Well guess this should be announced prior to the match that either or both the teams are not here to WIN, how many fans will actually watch this match, in all probablity none. The concept of sportsmanship and pride is alien to you, matches are always to be won. If you get into that loose to progression mindset, you will hardly play the real game and in all probability never win any championship.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Talk of “fighting spirit” and “clean play” doesn’t sound like the football I grew up watching.

Ever been to Stoke on a rainy Tuesday night?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Netgrump, you're still missing point in reference to the last 10 minutes. The result, winning, losing or drawing, was irrelevant, all that mattered was the goal difference at that stage. And with the way Japan had played up til then their chances of scoring were almost zilch. Regarding the entire match, yes they could have been a lot more positive and the team selection was absurd, I would agree.

Belgium and England were even worse though, and no-one has vilified them. Martinez even stated that he wasn't going for a win, prior to the game. The only difference is the situation was assured for those two teams, and it wasn't for Japan, but neither of those two were trying to win even before the kick-off.

Miss Oikawa,

I didn't miss your mathematical explanation in your posts on this thread and would have agreed till a certain extend when Japan, like Belgium and England, had won their previous games. For the sake of football and the audience paying a high price for their tickets I prefer the teams who went for all 9 points in their groups. With 6 points you can take a key player or one with a yellow card out of the team but the fighting spirit of a team gives confidence to the supporters, not only compatriots but all football lovers on this globe.

The same as I like the otemba spirit in your posts :)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

That was a pathetic display and piss poor sportsmanship. Japan lost tons of respect worldwide with that behavior and their mental weakness and cowardice is part of football history.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Some are criticizing Japan for "parking the bus" and ultimately, depending their fate on other teams. While others understands that Japan has to do whatever it takes to make it to the round of 16 in the WC.

At the end of the day, Japan played by the rules. But the way they played in the last 15 or so minutes were just embarrassing. The crowd booing literally proves my point. Oh and don't forget that the key player of Samurai Blue also shared his opinion about the last match: https://koztimes.com/honda-i-want-to-apologize-to-the-fans-for-such-boring-football/32854/

Hopefully, they'll play their fullest against Belgium. If they're going to keep relying on luck, they won't make it far.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It was Germany v Österreich, Spain, 1982 WC.

Thanks for your inform. However, I think something happened years before that. One South American nation losed to another S. American nation and in return got shipped tons of food ad rewards. I am about to go to work so no time to google about it, sorry.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"My decision was to rely on the other match," Japan coach Akira Nishino said. "I'm not too happy about this but ... I forced my players to do what I said. And we went through. It was an ultimate decision for me to make. We did not go through with victory, but we just relied on the other match and I feel that it was slightly regrettable but I suppose at that point I didn't have any other plans."

Inspired strategic thinking at its very best. I wonder if Nishino has any plans for the next game.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That was shameful and a disgrace. 'Fighting spirit' ?

AND japan lost!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

maybeperhapsyesToday 08:21 am JST

I would have understood if Japan played like this to protect a goal lead. But they were losing!

This is exactly the point so many people seem unable to grasp... It makes no difference what the score was, whether it was 0-1, 1-1, 1-0, the fact was that with that result Japan would qualify. With 10 minutes left, risking conceding another goal to make it 0-2 would have been just as stupid as conceding a goal to make it 1-1 or whatever.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

yoshisan88Today  07:27 am JST

It was Germany v Österreich, Spain, 1982 WC.

Thanks for your inform. However, I think something happened years before that. One South American nation losed to another S. American nation and in return got shipped tons of food ad rewards. I am about to go to work so no time to google about it, sorry.

I think you are referring to Argentina vs Peru in 1978 WC where Argentina required to score 4 goals to advance and they score 6. This did not result in the change the rule for the final group matches to be played simultaneously but the Germany vs Austria in 1982 match did.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Samurai Japan? More like "Oyabun Nishino and his Big Blue Time-wastin' Crew"

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Well done to Japan! Once again achieving what no other Asian nation was able to!

2 ( +10 / -8 )

@Educator - lots of Asian teams have reached the last 16 before (including Japan twice). Wiki probably means Japan is the only AFC team to qualify for the knockout stage in this World Cup.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

wtfjapanToday 04:13 pm JST

Wiki Says about Korea: “were able to reach the Round of 16 in the 2010 World Cup”

Korea reached the last 4 of the 2002 WC and finished 4th overall, considerably better than Japan in the last 20yrs"

Yes, but they cheated alot to achieve this. Ask Spain and Italy. One of the Ecuadorian referees favoring the Koreans is now a convicted drug smuggler.

http://www.goal.com/en/news/from-bandit-referee-to-drug-smuggler-what-happened-to-byron/19k8pz1j2pamu1etxnvqxy8v6j

Nice friends they have!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If I cheat on a test and get perfect, it doesn't mean I did it well, only that I benefit from the end result. Are you saying, again, that Japan did well against Poland?

Sorry, but Japan did not cheat. They played within the rules of the game. I can't believe how many sour grapes are being spilled on this site. People forget that part of winning is being smart and playing smart. Like fairweathered bandwagon fans, there seems to be bandwagon haters coming out of the woodworks. Three words: GET OVER IT.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Oh, the irony, that a country obsessed with the avoidance of shame should stoop to such shameful tactics to scrape through. And, irony of ironies, that they should get through on "fair play" criteria. I would have loved it if the ref had gone round giving yellow cards to each of the time-wasters, so that they had more than Senegal and, shock, horror, would have needed to score A GOAL to get through! In fact, why didn't the ref do this? Players get cautions for time-wasting in many other scenarios; why not this? Shame on you Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Every team runs the clock down when there is a strategic advantage to do so.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"it did happen years ago in a match between two South American nations I think"

Well, you're wrong.

It was Germany v Österreich, Spain, 1982 WC.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The rule was changed after the Germany v Austria game.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I didn't like Samurai Japan at the end only passing without any attack for more than 5 minutes. But anyway, that was the coach sign, strategically win-up the defeated match, wasn't it in another expression, a win-win game?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Damn, I lost the bet. So that will be two losses for Japan this week. But who knows, if they beat Belgium they might face Brazil again which I hope not. My finale prediction is Belgium vs Croatia.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OK they did what they had to do. I wonder if they will discuss this sneakiness for the next month just like they did the American football hit. Bending the rules irks both ways

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Senegal and Japan ended on the same points and everything equal except Senegal had 6 yellow cards (total fouls) and Japan 3 yellow cards.

Hmm. Seems strange that goal difference isn't important. But thank you anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Spitfire

also good replay sites if you don't want to stay up/get up at 3am. Used them for all those 4am/5am games last season. I was going to watch the England game but looks like I still read the reports on that one. Try replaymatches dot com

I was looking forward to an England Japan match but may not happen now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not being a fan of soccer, even I could see what Japan was doing and switched off the TV disgusted. I expected more of the Japanese Blue "Samurai".

I hope Belgium carves them up like Belgian fries, or waffles them like Belgian waffles.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

The players and the coach of the Japanese team are just cowards. Plain and simple. Anyone trying to defend them is being a troll. Nobody can defend such a ridiculous soccer team.

It was shameful what the Japanese team did yesterday and given the law difference between them and Senegal in the number of yellow cards, it’s Senegal with far better players who should have qualified. Not this bunch of cowards who are shaming this sport. This also immediately proves that this new rule is ridiculous and should be stopped. The Japanese team does not deserve to be qualified.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

I’m getting confused about whether Japan is the first Asian team to go to the 16 or not. According to Wikipedia “Japan has become the only AFC team to qualify to the knockout stage”.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

seanwd20: "It looks like you forgot Takashi Inui's shot that hit the woodwork during the Senegal march."

Didn't forget about that at all, that was ONE good shot out of two. And don't blame Japan's cowardice in the final 15 minutes against Poland on Senegal. THEY were trying, Japan was not. As I said, teams like South Korea and Poland, which did their best to win despite already being out, can go home with heads held high. Japan goes forward with their chins down and in shame. If you don't believe it, why is no one talking about it?

" Im very realistic about any countrries participating in WC, history shows that the coaches will employ any legal tactics to win or advanced (Germany in 1982 for example)."

So, doing "anything to win" (including losing when you said you want to win, in this case) is in your opinion a good thing. No surprise there.

"Truthfully Im a little bit bored with Japan vs Poland fight"

Seeing your players lose does that, especially when they are intent on refusing to play to win and engaging in low-level tactics. Or, you're also ashamed and "bored" is just a euphemism for not wanting to talk about the match, like many I know. It was actually a decent match until the ending.

"but hey it is what it is and whether they win or lose against Belgium or not we'll see...."

Either way, Japan will be booed, and remembered as the biggest cowards of the WC so far. And to think they won on "fair play". Almost ironic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fair Play tiebreaker depends on which random referees get to officiate one's games and the opponent's games - if the refs in those games are strict vs. let the players play

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Samit Batsu

There is no point in comparing the Japanes and Korean teams. While there are many ifs and what ifs the fact remains that the Japanese team is going to the next stage thanks to a well calculated though boring game. Not the first nor the last team to have done so.

Meaningless nastiness and bitterness over this.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I want to see the teams which don't do the same what Japan did in that special situation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If they had been snooping on whats happening on the Senegal-Colombia game and changing their playxstyle based on the outcomes of that game, wouldn’t that be cheating...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As for suggestions that Korea should have qualified instead for beating Germany. What nonsense. Korea were awful in the first 2 games and left it too late. Go and replay their first 2 games and then tell me Korea should have qualified.

Exactly, Korea played like they were coached by Mourinho, a negative form of football that can lead to results.

Germany played on this tournament like if they were restricted from their favourite Wursts. Maybe Mutti Merkel should have attended but she's facing many problems from the real world at home :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Japanese coach played a better game

0 ( +12 / -12 )

Hilarious comments on here this am.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Its not cowardist and defeatist, its just a game based on a number of facts on the ground: the chance of Japan scoring a goal in last 10 mins was much lower than that of conceding OR losing the advantage in fair play (yeah bit ironic but its fifa's rule) Meanwhile, Japan knew Colombia would try their hardest win hence a draw was the safest bet.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

BurakuminDes

it was a joke, in very bad taste, done at SK's expense and their team certainly does not deserve it. I could not resist ribbing Samit Basu and their constant drivel maligning Japan while cheering SK. As a result, I soiled myself with lame snipe unbecoming of my own standards. It would be great if SK had made it, and at least they took down Germany. Cheers!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The cowards of the soccer world. Here’s Nishino yesterday : "We are still going for top of the group."

then yesterday when he heard Senegal was losing he demanded his team just fiddle with the ball to kill time. Now the “fans” are concerned with their image abroad; I mean, they want to be seen as a fearful team whose supporters pick up their garbage, and beam with pride over it for some reason. Now, they know that their team are sellouts, and some seem VERY upset that Japan was booed (not that they lost, but about the criticism). Shame on both teams for the worst 15 minutes of the WC so far, and Japan in particular for its cowardice.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Zichi,

Actually I watched the England-Belgium game a couple of ours ago using the replaymatches.com site after You mentioned it last week on another thread.Thanks again.

i think a lot of locals are quite embarrassed by what happened in Japan's match.

Anyway we can all have a nice weekend looking forward to the next round.

No games today though,what are we going to do,lol.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I thought the ref can give yellow card for players who are just wasting time?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

yoshisan88Today 07:27 am JSTIt was Germany v Österreich, Spain, 1982 WC.

Thanks for your inform. However, I think something happened years before that. One South American nation losed to another S. American nation and in return got shipped tons of food ad rewards. I am about to go to work so no time to google about it, sorry.

I think you are refering to the 1978 WC where Argentina required to score 4 goals against Peru to advance and managed to score 6 !!! This did not result in the changing of the rule for final group matches to be played at the same time but the rule was changed after the 1982 Germany vs Austria match

0 ( +2 / -2 )

JT users now saying Japan advanced due to luck and match fixing! Wow, they can never accept the fact that Japan did well since they were tipped to finish bottom of the group.

You gleefully predicted Japan would go “crashing out” at the group stage along with England.

When did you start liking Japan?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japan will get criticised either way, whether crashing out of the group stage or advancing to the next round. Sad state of affairs.

@smithinjapan

It looks like you forgot Takashi Inui's shot that hit the woodwork during the Senegal march. It Was Senegal's fault for not being able to beat Japan or to close down the goal difference. Japan really needs to be given credit. If you don't support them, don't bother commenting on their articles.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

“South Korea, despite being last in their group and knowing the could not go forward, played to win, and won. Same with Poland. “

Already knowing they could not advance means they had nothing to lose by going all out. Whereas Japan did have something to lose and played it somewhat safe.

“The players and the coach of the Japanese team are just cowards.”

Nishino made the decision and admits it was against what the players would have liked to do. Are players expected to go against the directives of their coach? If players were to just do as they please what would be the point of having a coach?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

ADK99, thanks for the clarification, this rookie appreciates it. Before I saw your post I’d done a tiny bit more research and found:

Wiki Says about Korea: “were able to reach the Round of 16 in the 2010 World Cup”

And about Japan in the 2018 WC: “Japan's victory also gave a historic milestone for the AFC as Japan has become the only AFC team to qualify to the knockout stage”

So what is historic for the AFC about that? Was the wiki writer maybe writing on a lack of sleep or is there just something about this that I don’t understand?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cmon, it’s time to move on. Tactics are used in every game and japan just knows the effortless way to win a game. Let’s all look forward to neymar or ronaldo’s diving and body throwing if for a better entertainment than this. Geez.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@mu-da, no offence but are you seriously claiming that the real point is that they lost their image???

You think it would have been better to have gone out, but retained their "image"?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

As much as I like South Korea who can forget the 2002 referee favouritsm that enabled them to be placed 4th overall that leaves Spain and Italy angry and bitter

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Yes, miss_oikawa, I seriously believe they should have fought and taken the risk. If you want to look at the damage and loss of respect internationally, just google "Japan, World Cup, disgrace".

*The Catchphrase of Japan's World Cup squad, "Samurai Blue" is a catchphrase thought up by the Japan Football Association (JFA) to support the Japanese team at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany. The phrase combines the word for Japan's ancient warriors, samurai, which has become widely known around the world through such media as the movie Last Samurai, with the color of Japan's national team shirts, blue. "Samurai Blue" has connotations of *battling with pride, a sense of fair play, and a strong desire for victory. 

This spirit and image has taken years and much effort to built up. To squander it like this is not worth of World Cup team coach. And as we all saw, he was embarrassed himself to justify it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Can't believe this story has over 190 comments. Are people really that critical of Japan?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@mu-da

Fair enough, if you believe that. I just see, 1) a lot of hypocrisy from some posters here for reasons described by Peeping Tom above, and because I don't believe many teams would have attacked in those last 10 minutes 2) A lack of understanding as to why they did it, when's it really not that complicated.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

“It's somewhat ironic that since they can't win by skill (need a red card in the first game, and the goalie to leave the net in the second for a draw) they have to resort to the worst sportsmanship “

Columbia blocking a sure goal with a hand is somehow Japan's fault? Senegals goalie leaving the net was prompted by an attempted shot by Japan, a mistake that allowed Japan to equalize. Yet, Japan's goalie also made a mistake allowing Senegal to score but that is considered skills by Senegal. And criticizing Honda as just being at the right place at the right time while totally disregarding Senegal's first point shows the potent power of selective thinking caused by national educational hysteria against anything regarding Japan.

Japan can't win by skill, it was alllllll lucky. Give me a break!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And the Japan haters cannot stomach it. The Peeping says good on Japan for sticking it to them.

@Peeping Tom - Actually it's been widely reported around the world that Japan played a disgraceful time wasting tactic to play for a loss by one goal.. are they all haters of Japan?

Here are some headlines:

BBC: "World Cup 2018: Japan go through but final group game ends in mind-boggling farce"

Reuters: "Japan milk 'fair play' system in World Cup first"

ESPN: "Japan shame World Cup yet profit from 'fair play' "

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Every team runs the clock down when there is a strategic advantage to do so

For a few minutes, perhaps. Not for 15 mins - and certainly not when you are a goal down.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Key words for two different groups.

People who are ok wih Japan play - Strategy, Obey, Rules

People who are Not ok with Japan play - Cowardice, Sportmanship, Weak, Lucky, etc.

I am neither of two groups, I blame Fifa for their rules, Fair Play Rules. I blame only Fifa.

(If u are in a war, u show guts, u either die or win pride....but if u hide or become coward, u lose pride but u also win, to stay with your family and live a life whatever it will be, life goes on......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

not all have to live up to your liking or expectation, give a little love and relax.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FIFA made the rules, Japan played within them and qualified.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Actually, how else could FIFA decide the 2 qualifiers? Senegal and Japan had their chances on points (the same), goal difference (the same), goals scored (the same), head-to-head (a draw). So why not decide it on fair play. Its better than the old system of a coin toss. I really don't see what all the fuss is about and it encouraged the teams to play fairly.

A reminder to everyone that Korea were not even in the same group so that argument goes straight out of the window.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh, the irony, that a country obsessed with the avoidance of shame should stoop to such shameful tactics to scrape through. And, irony of ironies, that they should get through on "fair play" criteria. I would have loved it if the ref had gone round giving yellow cards to each of the time-wasters, so that they had more than Senegal and, shock, horror, would have needed to score A GOAL to get through! In fact, why didn't the ref do this? Players get cautions for time-wasting in many other scenarios; why not this? Shame on you Japan.

I take back everything I said about my wife's knowledge of football.

Listen, if you have possession of the ball while in play or if you you are defending in numbers, you can be as defensive as a parked bus. The ref can't give yellow cards to a team for defending!

Japan qualified end of story. And they made a decent game of it last night.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I continued to watch every Japanese match until Japan decided to advance to round 16. Every match was more exciting than I expected, so I was looking forward  to watching the Japanese match. At first, I thought most Japanese people didn’t think that Japanese would be able to advance to the 16th round because the Japanese team was in confusion until just before the World Cup started as they changed coaches. The Japan football association changed the coach of the Japanese national soccer team even though the World Cup would start just two months later. This decision was so confusing to us and also disappointing to us. However, the first match Japan won was against Colombia. This amazing result surprised us. From this match, most Japanese people took notice of the Japan team. For this reason, many people thought that Japan would beat Poland, so some people may have been disappointed with the defensive strategy, but I think it was nice strategy to advance to the 16th round. Mr. Nishino who is the manager of team Japan said he was frustrated. I think it is important to use this frustrating experience in order to advance to the final round.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When will the soccer games end? I wish it will end tomorrow.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Japan lost the match, fair and square. They got to the next round because another team scored a goal in another match and they got less fouls... clap... clap... clap...

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Actually, it was Panama.

And today loss to Belgium was for "tactical purposes"

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It was risky, dangerous, maybe suicidal

I was suicidal watching the last 15 minutes.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

seanwd20^ "JT users now saying Japan advanced due to luck and match fixing! Wow, they can never accept the fact that Japan did well since they were tipped to finish bottom of the group."

Well, that's the thing -- they did not do well in this game... or do you think they did? Ending up with a good result is not the same thing as doing something well. If I cheat on a test and get perfect, it doesn't mean I did it well, only that I benefit from the end result. Are you saying, again, that Japan did well against Poland? Are you saying they did not get lucky with the red card in the Columbia game, and the goalie being out of the net in the Senegal game?

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Today on JT, as of this post:

Police officer arrested for molesting teenage boy on train = 11 comments

Father arrested for kicking, punching 7-year-old son = 8 comments

320,000 bits of customer info of lodging providers in Japan stolen (story from the day before) = 7 comments

Japan set to redress forced sterilization ahead of court rulings = 2 comments

But then...

Japan booed as it advances on yellow cards despite losing to Poland 1-0 = 149 fervent comments!!!

Good to see talk about the important issues get put aside for a fricking soccer game! More evidence of how we are in decline as a species.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

miss_oikwa: "It makes no difference what the score was, whether it was 0-1, 1-1, 1-0, the fact was that with that result Japan would qualify. With 10 minutes left, risking conceding another goal to make it 0-2 would have been just as stupid as conceding a goal to make it 1-1 or whatever."

This logic only works if you're a psychic. When Japan engaged in its cowardice, the Senegal/Colombia game still had 20 minutes on the clock. You can't say that with 10 minutes left doing anything was too big a risk because at the time you did not know what the outcome of the other game was. It was just a big a risk to do the nothing Japan did. But, the could have gone forward with their heads held high. Your logic does not work here. Even AFTER the Japan game ended, had Senegal pulled off the miracle Japan would have been out, and not only a disgrace, but a laughing stock to boot. Now they are just a disgrace. Lucky, but a disgrace all the same.

But again... if everyone's so proud, why is not one talking about it? Even Nishino could barely try and defend himself in the interviews.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Netgrump, you're still missing point in reference to the last 10 minutes. The result, winning, losing or drawing, was irrelevant, all that mattered was the goal difference at that stage. And with the way Japan had played up til then their chances of scoring were almost zilch. Regarding the entire match, yes they could have been a lot more positive and the team selection was absurd, I would agree.

Belgium and England were even worse though, and no-one has vilified them. Martinez even stated that he wasn't going for a win, prior to the game. The only difference is the situation was assured for those two teams, and it wasn't for Japan, but neither of those two were trying to win even before the kick-off.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Smithinjapan

Everything was a risk, just like everything in sport is. It was a calculated gamble. Just because you are the one performing the action makes the likelihood of a desired outcome no more or less intrinsically certain.

And if they had attacked and conceded a goal, going out, with the Senegal result staying the same, what then? What would you have said? Naive, silly Japan? Congratulations for going for a draw but going out? This is professional sport, not a primary school kickaround.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

“It's somewhat ironic that since they can't win by skill (need a red card in the first game, and the goalie to leave the net in the second for a draw) they have to resort to the worst sportsmanship “

Yer taking the Michael, ain’t yer?!

First off, it’s a goal-keeper; leave the goalie bullocks where it belongs, i.e. in countries where you play sucker.

Secondly, if no mistakes were ever made ALL matches would end up in a draw. Simple logic!

The goal-keeper did not “LEAVE” the posts, he made a terrible mistake and suffered a goal.

Wanna talk about a “goalie” (that cracks me up) leaving the “net”? Where was Neuer when SK scored the second?!

Right, you didn’t see him in SK’s half trying to dribble (sadly he’s no Higuita), but millions, including the Peeping did!

Japan has no skill?

Obviously SK’s first goal, a rebound for an initially off-side player denoted skills of the highest calibre, doesn’t it?

SK was fourth in 2002 courtesy of scandalous CHEATING; my guess is you did not see it either, did you?

Just accept the fact; Japan is in the second round and SK is home, having cold showers.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

If England were doing the same thing as Japan, would there have been outrage? I doubt it.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

dont defame the honor of being a samurai. why are we blue anyways.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Honestly, they should have made Japan and Senegal go at it again (it isn't like they didn't have time to do so). At any rate, South Korea leaves as a winning team, doing everyone else a favor and K-Oing the #1 ranked team in the world out of the tourney. South Korea leaves the FIFA World Cup a winner. Japan will just leave after their next game...

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

What Japan did 15 minutes seems nothing wrong. It perfectly obeyed the rule. Japan did it to go to next upper game. Poland is not final.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I care little for sport. Clearly you should boo FIFA for setting the rules that leads to this non-competitive win. Japan is just playing ridiculous rules. No one passes to final would be the most sensible result.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A lot of posts from people who clearly have no clue about World Cup tournament football or football per say.

Since when did a nation have to play attacking football to progress in the tournament when they were set to go through? The Japan manager has shown great awareness of the rules (set before the tournament started) and he will go down in the record books as only the 2nd manager to get Japan through to the knockout phase of the World Cup.

Why on earth did Japan have to play attacking football when a 1-0 loss was getting them qualified? There is nothing you can do to keep the other result secret and they even changed the rules to make the last games kick off at the same time to avoid any team having a knowledge advantage.

Imagine if the coach had instructed Japan to play glorious attacking football and they lost 4-1. They would be flying home by now and he would be getting more criticism for being naive.

As for suggestions that Korea should have qualified instead for beating Germany. What nonsense. Korea were awful in the first 2 games and left it too late. Go and replay their first 2 games and then tell me Korea should have qualified.

My wife doesn't really have a clue about football and she asked me why Japan had to play such defensive negative football while losing 1-0. Many of the posters here share the same level of knowledge as my missus.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

There are lots of examples of teams playing for a draw in the third game of the world cup. Japan did the right thing under the circumstances. Perhaps they could have done it more convincingly but there was no need to risk anything - Japan is through to the last 16 which is fantastic for a third tier footballing nation.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

@PeepingTom

It was risky, dangerous, maybe suicidal, but if paid off.

Well no, it didn't. Japan's actions had absolutely no impact on the Senegal game at all. It paid off in that they preserved a 0-1 loss. One might as well suggest that if I walk through a minefield with my eyes closed and make it, then it paid off. I would argue that it still would have been better to open my eyes.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

I wonder if Akira Nishino instructed his players to do that negative tactic for the interests of the whole nation or for the Samurai Blue's sponsors.

I believe that with anger and disgust among the world soccer fans, FIFA would consider this kind of incident as 'Unfair play' in the next World Cup.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Im very realistic about any countrries participating in WC, history shows that the coaches will employ any legal tactics to win or advanced (Germany in 1982 for example). Truthfully Im a little bit bored with Japan vs Poland fight but hey it is what it is and whether they win or lose against Belgium or not we'll see....

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Truthfully Im not even from Japan but Ive seen this moves and calculative tactics employed by Europeans, Latin Americans, African and Asian countries in football matches so why the rage and long post here Im a little bit amused.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

funny to see people defending Japan's actions fan. Any true football fans knows that Japan is a coward for pulling what they did against Poland. This sort of behavior is a disgrace to football.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@/heckleberry

They were just being hypocrites, as per usual.

In England, "parking the bus" is perfect when it suits your team; absolutely NOT when the opposition does it. OH, NO SIR! THAT'S NOT ALLOWED, YER NO!!!

England played disgracefully against Belgium, hoping to lose so that they'd get Japan. This fact seems to have escaped you in your little Japanese adventure.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Samit Basu

Your comparison to SK fails considering SK basically had nothing to lose. One plays much freer in such a case. Germany on the other hand had to watch their fair game play since it might have been a tie breaker to Sweden. How about you research how many fouls SK committed and how much GER or JP. In the group phase it's all about advancing and knowing the rules helps.

A rather more shameful game was between France and Denmark. By keeping it a tie, both teams advanced. No team really made any efforts.

Now, here Japan decided to rely on the other game instead of risking another goal by Poland. They tried during the match but like SK vs GER, if you have nothing to lose, you play much freer. JP decided not to risk it. It was the right decision for the last few minutes since Japan advances. I feel rather sad for those who cannot share the happiness of the team.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

I didn't watch the game (working time), but playing soft in the last matches, when results are known is a practice in every sport. See almighty England with just two main players against Belgium (or so I read), while Belgium itself with just one - the rest from the benches. I am quite happy that Japan is learning the ways to the next stage. It was not its fault, it belongs to the way Fifa has designed the tournament. Congrats Samurai Blue. You are doing good!! (Better than Germany, Italy, USA and South Korea lololol)

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

All these comments are hilarious. Yes, it wasn't pretty what Japan did, but why should they risk qualification by searching for a goal and getting caught on the break just to entertain the neutrals? Japan played by the rules and Senegal has only itself to blame for not finishing them off or by widening their goal difference. People hoping that Japan loses to Belgium, hold on to your horses. Japan played their second string team against Poland, resting key players. Belgium also brought English fans back to reality.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Reminded me of the NFL in the US. There it is done all the time; doesn't make for pretty play, but you keep the team healthy, save key players for another day and run out the clock. A simple, smart strategy no matter whether you like the look of it. Japan did the absolute right thing.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@madden: only if a player keeps passing the ball to the goalkeeper. I think.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Safety Japan, played it safe. Anzen daiichi!

yep they didnt have what it takes to beat Poland.

Japan is not a “third tier” football nation. Final tier means First Class football nation, after historic win.

no their a second tier team at best, top tier mean you have to beat other top tier teams consistantly, Japan is far from that , their world ranking reflects that also.

I just read in NYT that Japan is the only country outside Europe/Latin America that reached the 16

dude you get so many things wrong Im guessing your a troll, Korea made the last 4 in the 2002 world cup only being defeated by Germany 1-0 

I hope Belgium carves them up like Belgian fries, or waffles them like Belgian waffles.

Poland played to win in the hope of saving some pride and they did, Japan basically did the opposite. I never really wish bad for any sporting team but Japan doesn't deserve its gifted last 16 advance, I hope Belgium crush them its the least they deserve.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

those were not men on that field

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

So they threw the match? Even the goal keepers face doesn't look surprised.

They talk about fair play, I don't think this is fair play at all.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

The objective is to qualify for the next round and they were able to do that. I bet people will still have something to say if they did the opposite and lost. Strategy is also important in winning matches and Nishino's strategy worked.

The only objective in any match is to win the match, that's what fan's want to see and that's what we saw in the Korea-Germany match, both teams fought fairly till the last min. Strategy should and always be to win matches by actually playing the match and not what the Japanese team did in the later half.

Nishino's stratgey so far has been less towards actually playing real football, but more towards using rather abusing FIFA rules to his advantage.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Well done to Japan! Once again achieving what no other Asian nation was able to!

South Korea is the only Asian team to ever win a team award at a FIFA World Cup when they were voted Most Entertaining Team in 2002 after finishing in fourth place.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

The only objective in any match is to win the match, that's what fan's want to see and that's what we saw in the Korea-Germany match, both teams fought fairly till the last min.

Becasue Germany had to win, Japan didn't, and Korea were only playing for pride, just like Poland yesterday.

Strategy should and always be to win matches by actually playing the match and not what the Japanese team did in the later half.

It obvioulsy won't work like that when progression does not depend on winning. It's exactly the same in the Champions League if you draw 1-1 away and only need a 0-0 at home, teams do not go all out to win the game.

I really wonder how many people on this thread have just started watching footabll this month.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

"Truthfully Im not even from Japan but Ive seen this moves and calculative tactics employed by Europeans, Latin Americans, African and Asian countries in football matches so why the rage and long post here Im a little bit amused."

Because Japan had the "audacity" of doing what the whole world footballing community have been doing for ever.

The Italians have been cheating for donkey's and already won it 4 times.

Maradona's Hand of God steered the Argies to a final they won.

Even my own Ingurland is not innocent of foul play in 66' v Portugal, re: the way Inglurland made Portugal travel half the country, by changing venues at the very last minute, and also by crowds making noises underneath Portugal's hotel windows during the night preceding their clash; some JT experts simply don't have a scoobby!

And the Japan haters cannot stomach it. The Peeping says good on Japan for sticking it to them.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

"Truthfully Im not even from Japan but Ive seen this moves and calculative tactics employed by Europeans, Latin Americans, African and Asian countries in football matches so why the rage and long post here Im a little bit amused."

Because Japan had the "audacity" of doing what the whole world footballing community have been doing for ever.

You hit it the nail right on the head. It’s because Japan has never done that before that why. Japan had honor.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The ending was a farce but not through any fault of Japan. I'm surprised the above commentators have not thought about what would have happened if Japan had conceded another goal. As it stood they were going through and it would have been just as much a gamble to attack and possibly/probably concede another goal and get eliminated as it was to completely shut up shop and rely on the other result. I don't think any other team in the world would have done anything differently, and if would they would have been pilloried for chasing a game they didn't need to.

The bigger question which has been completely glossed over now was why on earth did

Nishino choose the team he did?? Absolutely incomprehensible.

-4 ( +16 / -20 )

"Is this the first football match you people have seen in your lives? Playing to hold a result that gets you through to the next round isn't matchfixing or disgraceful, it happens all the time and is part of the game. If anything its Polands behavior that is questionable, they had nothing to play for except trying to take Japan out, and they didn't do so. That's their problem, not Japan."

You've said it all, really.

-4 ( +12 / -16 )

Not a third tier; need to check spelling.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Its a crazy gamble by rotating out 6 player in the starting lineup, but in the end it paid off. A 'win' is a win. Now, onto the knockoff stage!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The coach made a calculated risk taking advantage of the rules set in place that every other coaches in the world cup should know. His strategy paid off and Japan is advancing to the next stage as he was hired to do. The idiotic posters mocking Japan is just simply too dumb to realize that Nishino made a strategic move that payed off. Japan was playing for the win but once Colombia scored with 10 minutes remaining, it gave Japan an advantage over Senegal based on the new rule. Rather than risking to score with a possible counter attack, he chose to kill time as scoring in the last 10 minutes is unlikely or too risky. Poland didn't seem to pressure Japan so Nishino was correct.

Had Japan attempted to score and faced another counter attack and got scored on, he would have failed as a coach for taking a risk to tie despite having a 1point goal difference with a loss that would still have allowed Japan to advance. Nishinos job is for Japan to advance as far as they can get and he did just that. Japan got out of the group stage as he is supposed to do.

Thank goodness JFA chose him rather than some on here who cannot even understand such a simple concept and providing lame and completely irrelevant analogies to prove their laughable position.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

"Regardless of how they won, I'm sure this makes a lot of people happy, which is always a good thing. There's enough cause for despair in the world."

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I would like to amend the above comment to read "which is sometimes a good thing"

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

zurcronium

"tactical purpose loss" was the talk before the match, when the thought was that Japan was going to beat Poland , and come first in the group.

See what I mean, bruv?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I just read in NYT that Japan is the only country outside Europe/Latin America that reached the 16 best ones. It makes the Nishino’s decision even more correct that we thought. I do hope Japan make at least the final 8. Once again, congrats to the Japanese team.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

ADK99

But they didn't get knocked out, did they?

It was risky, dangerous, maybe suicidal, but if paid off.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Always play to win, don't depend on anyone else, it's very simple. Japan lost in more ways than one.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

"Can't believe this story has over 190 comments. Are people really that critical of Japan?"

You bet; lots of hypocritical haters of Japan, living and eating there.

Had SK done it, it would be perfectly acceptable for the haters (and within the rules), and we would not be having over 190 comments on this issue!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Samit Basu

That's not even true, Germany swept Brazil aside in about 20 minutes with the first 5 goals, then added the other 2 later.

Anyway that was a completely different situation, a one-off game where, as usual, you simply have to score more than the opposition, which was different to today's games where how many they lost by made was the difference between qualifying or not.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

The last 10 to 15 minutes ......

... no, it was neither disgraceful nor was it match fixing.

The Japanese coach made a smart decision (at that point) and Japan advanced to the next round.

On the contrary, YES, it was boring and disappointing to see them shuffle the ball left, right, forward (less) and back (more).

Will this work against Belgium, too? I doubt it.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Japan went into the game with Hasebe saying they would play to win, not to draw, a legitimate strategy to ensure automatic qualification. Nishino also made extensive changes to the lineup to rest players even though qualification was not assured.

After all that hubris, they ended up limping over the line in a game they killed and happily lost. This was only possible because they knew, via mobile phone, the potential result of the other game. It is one thing to time waste when winning, to do it when losing by a single goal reduces the sport to farce.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

TaiN@^ "Congratulations! It was good game!"

No. The first half and part of the second were good. The last 15 minutes shaded the entire game in disgrace.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

" fantastic for a third tier footballing nation."

The Samurai Blue are the most successful team in Asia; the Nadeshiko have won the WC and came second in the Olympics. Many a REAL football expert would disagree with your assessment.

Not a powerhouse (yet); certainly NOT a third tear footballing nation.

It's disrespectful to an entire Continent.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Why are you so excited in soccer? You may be betting money on the games.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

@Ecuador - I'm not necessarily suggesting that they should have thrown 10 men plus the keeper forward in a kamikaze attack, it is possible to attack carefully and conservatively. What they did absolutely guaranteed that they would not score and rendered them entirely dependent on something happening in another stadium.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

On the biggest stage of the world's most popular sport, Japan has bought shame upon itself - pure and simple. What a lack of character. What a tremendous loss of face. All the "but... but... but..." attempts to rationalize it only make it worse.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Smart play by Japan!!!

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Fijure, thank God someone else here knows what they're talking about.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

Portugal used to play beautiful football and lose in the end; enters F Santos the current coach.

They started playing ugly and won the Euro's. They began this WC playing ugly and are on the second stage already.

The team still capable of playing beautifully again and probably lose valiantly, like in the past.

This is football folks.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

@mu-da

Sorry mate; England would do exactly the same, were we in the same situation.

It's only the Guardian trying to be sanctimonious, preaching righteousness yet doing the opposite.

After beating the powerhouses of Tunisia and Guatemala, the chants of "it's coming home" are nothing compared with the "rather undignified fashion of Japan's scramble into the knockout stage".

It's just the British press being obnoxious and (in) -partial, when it suits them.

And I'm British too.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

japan has disgraced soccer as a sport. what a slap on the face to asian football that they will be representing the region in the group of 16, especially after korea just raised the prestige of Asia by beating Germany. After the Shame of Gijon, this match will be known as the Shame of Volgoglad 2018

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

"And the rule will be revised for the next World Cup due to Japan's abuse of it."

Says who? You?!

And Japan just pocketed a cool 9.5 million dollars from FIFA for qualifying for the next stage; all others who qualified won similar amounts.

And South Korea?

An earlier shower and a flight home; no cash to show for all that effort in winning against Germany.

My heart bleeds.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

It's somewhat ironic that since they can't win by skill (need a red card in the first game, and the goalie to leave the net in the second for a draw) they have to resort to the worst sportsmanship in the tounrament so far to win by "fairplay rules". So much for playing to win -- they literally played to lose. Cowards.

-10 ( +8 / -18 )

By saying they would play to win, Hasebe meant the match, not qualification. The question was obviously put to him because a draw was enough automatic qualification.

https://japantoday.com/category/world-cup/soccer-japan-focus-on-winning-not-drawing-says-captain-hasebe

Football is results based, so its good to go through. I am simply questioning the pre-game chest puffing. Nishino has said himself that the way the match ended was "regrettable".

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Good for Japan!

Ignore the bitter haters.

-13 ( +11 / -24 )

Japan played and went through as per the rules.

South Korea won, yet they are going home earlier. Yankee needs to learn this is not sucker but football.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

@ ah so - Japan is not a “third tier” football nation. Final tier means First Class football nation, after historic win.

-15 ( +2 / -17 )

The South Korean is going home neutered with tail firmly between legs. Their fans, fortunately, will be able to live vicariously through Japan's victory.

-16 ( +2 / -18 )

Unbelievable!! Congratulation to Samurai Blue for making history. Everyone said Samurai Blue couldn’t make the knockout stage, but they got their through “fighting spirit”.

Belgian has many good individual players, but will be fearful of the Japanese team now. PM Abe said he expects at least “quarter final stage”, and Japan now believes they can do it!! Go Samurai Blue!!

-20 ( +6 / -26 )

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