The Samurai Blue progressed on the basis of fair play despite losing 1-0 to Poland in their last group match. 

Poland went in front thanks to a clean volley from Jan Bednarek while the match between Colombia and Senegal was still goalless, meaning Japan would have gone out on goal difference. 

A Colombia goal brought Japan back into second spot, though, despite losing to Poland. Japan and Senegal had the exact same goal difference, but Japan had a better disciplinary record.


Eiji Kawashima - 6.5

Tested after 25 minutes for the first time, getting down to his left to stop a header from Kamil Grosicki.

Hiroki Sakai - 6.5

Started off awkwardly with some of his defending against Layvin Kurzawa but he gradually improved as the match wore on. Always had the Polish on their heels with the ball on the right flank. 

Mayo Yoshida - 6.5

Confident defending against a pacy front line of culprits like Grosicki. Going forward, some passes in behind the Polish lines threatened in the first half. 

Tomoaki Makino - 5.5

A bit of a hot head at the back. Some Japanese fans may have been worried to see his name in the team sheet. Not great defending at the set-piece for Bednarek's goal. 

Yuto Nagatomo - 5.5

A strong delivery to Okazaki in the 12th minute could have seen Japan open the scoring. Had a fair bit to worry about as a red-hot Grosicki had fire in his eyes looking to send Poland ahead for the first time this World Cup. 

Gaku Shibasaki - 6

Carelessly lost the ball in a no pressure situation which allowed Poland to break forward and come close to opening the scoring. 

Takashi Usami - 7

Had a few glimpses in the first half of his ability to take players on and persisted constantly. Although he didn't always find avenues through, he made a great effort. 

Hataru Yamaguchi - 5

Began to get caught a little high as Krychowiak took charge, winning the second balls and maintaining pressure on Japan to chase. 

Gotoku Sakai - 5.5

Needed to help Sakai defensively as Kurzawa peppered him with pace and power. He also had chances in the final third, giving Fabianski something to think about with his shot on target. 

Shinji Okazaki - 5.5

Dived at Nagatomo's cross in the 12th minute and should have done more with it. Always dangerous in the air whether it be defensively or offensively. 

Yoshinori Muto - 6.5

Picked up on Artur Jedrzejczyk's poor backpass and capitalised sending Nagatomo down the left to deliver the cross which almost put Japan into the lead. Tested Fabianski with some audacious attempts. 

Yuya Osako - 6

Brought on two minutes into the second half for Okazaki. 

Takashi Inui - 5

Came on for Usami who had been Japan's best player up until Poland's goal. 

Makoto Hasebe - N/A

The Japanese captain came on in the final nine minutes.


Lukasz Fabianski - 6.5

Parried away Muto and Okazaki's early attempts at goal to keep the scores level. 

Jan Bednarek - 7

Dealt comfortably with the aerial duels against Okazaki and crucially put pressure on the Leicester forward in the 12th minute. Was at the back post to volley home Poland's opener and his first for Poland as he helped them take the lead for the first time in the World Cup. 

Kamil Glik - 6.5

His first appearance at the World Cup after recovering from injury he marshalled Poland's structure well and kept the line consistent.

Bartosz Bereszynski - 5

Careless in possession early in the match gifting the ball to Japan in the middle third of the field. Not putting enough pressure on Usami when he carried the ball forward towards the box. 

Gregorsz Krychowiak - 7.5

Started the match on top with some smart dispossessions and as the match wore on the only thing stopping Japan from having free reign in the Polish third was his clattering boot. 

Jacek Goralski - 5.5

An anonymous showing from the Ludogrets Razgrad midfielder who did little to impress in the first half. Improved in the second half as Poland seriously took control of the match and Goralski really put the foot down on Japan's quick feet. 

Rafal Kurzawa - 7

Stationed on the left wing he was dangerous early on the break for Poland as he muscled his way into the contest with some strong tackles. A delightful ball to the back post for Bednarek to volley home the opening goal. 

Artur Jedrzejczyk - 5

A clumsy back pass and awareness laid Poland bare to the mercy of the Japanese attack as Shinji Okazaki couldn't direct his header on target. 

Kamil Grosicki - 6

Infiltrated the box for a chance only once in the first half but a Polish boot couldn't get on the end of it. A a powerful and goal bound header was clawed out by Kawashima after 32 minutes. His deliveries were at all times close but no cigar. 

Piotr Zielinski - 5

Playing an unlikely striking partner role with Lewandowski. Zielinski did a respectable job dropping in between the lines and linking up passes with wingers Grosicki and Kurzawa. 

Robert Lewandowski - 5

Had to come deeper and deeper to get the ball and find some touches due to Japan's midfield preventing Poland from playing the ball quickly. A serious lack of service from his teammates. 


Slawomir Pleszko - 5

Couldn't find any more attacking avenues for Poland to find a second.

Lukasz Teodorczyk - N/A

Jakub Blaszczykowski - N/A