It’s all to play for in Group H as Colombia make a big statement.

What Happened

Japan had never beaten Senegal in three previous meetings and couldn’t do anything to change that statistic however the Blue Samurai valiantly fought back from behind twice to claim a point in a 2-2 draw in Yekaterinburg.

As for the two sides on zero after the first round Colombia proved their loss against Japan was perhaps just a blip as they dismantled a poor Poland side who struggled particularly to find any cohesion in attack.

Stand Out Performers

Juan Quintero and James Rodriguez pulled all the strings for Colombia with the two creators claiming all three assists between them on the night. The mercurial midfielders were at the centre of everything good for Los Cafeteros making it almost impossible for Poland to to stifle the free flowing football from the South Americans.

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It’s hard to go past Sadio Mané for Senegal’s best player with the Liverpool attacker proving a nightmare to defend after his fortuitous early goal. Special mention should also go to Ismaila Sarr with the 20-year-old proving a constant threat to Yuto Nagatomo and Japan down the right all night with pace and immense power.

Talking Points

After Rodriguez’s breakthrough tournament in Brazil, a left-footed creative midfield player is once again shining at a World Cup for Colombia, this time it’s Quintero who is emerging as a real stand out. The 25-year-old has had a stuttering club career thus far after promising much early on but may finally be living up to expectations at just the right time to put him in the shop window.

And a quick shout out to Japan who are once again proving the doubters wrong on the world stage and showing the heart and determination needed to compete against more favoured opposition.

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What it Means

Senegal may have thought they’d done enough but Japan’s late equaliser means that neither side is assured of their spot in the Round of 16.

Poland crash out after two hugely disappointing results that proved they must do much more than simply rely on Robert Lewandowski to get them out of trouble.

Needs Work

Senegal’s defence looked to be their strong point heading into the tournament with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly the stand out at the back but they were opened up far too easily by Japan at times. They may want to address that before the final round otherwise Colombia’s attacking talent will be licking their chops at the thought of tearing apart the African side and snatching a top two spot.

It doesn’t really matter now that they’ve been knocked out but Poland’s attack has been abysmal in the first two group games with Lewandowski becoming more and more isolated as the tournament wears on.

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What’s Next

Japan and Senegal’s draw mean it’s all to play for in the final group round at midnight on Friday (AEST). Kick-off will be simultaneous as the evenly matched Senegal and Colombia go head to head and Japan look to overcome a poor Poland side for a place in the Round of 16.

Goal of the Day

All three of Colombia’s goals were something to behold but perhaps the best of them was Yerry Mina’s goal in the first half. The corner was played short found its way to Quintero who reversed the ball down the line to find Rodriguez curling a perfect cross onto the head of Mina just out of reach of Wojciech Szczęsny in Poland’s goal.

Miss of the Day

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The miss of the day came from Japan’s Yuya Osako. Just on the hour mark in the ball was played across box and lax defending gave Osako a clean run at timing his shot but somehow the striker just swung at air from six-yards out. Could have given Japan an all important lead but wasn’t to be.

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Living and studying in Newcastle. Pretty obsessed with football. Newcastle Jets and Chelsea FC fan