Japan has become the only Asian country to advance to the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup Russia despite losing 1-0 against Poland. Japan lost to Poland 0-1 in its last group stage game held at Volgograd Arena on Friday. Japan finished second in Group H based on the FIFA’s “fair play rules” although it had the same points (4), goal difference (0) and goals scored (4) as Senegal.
Japan was able to move into the knockout stages thanks to the fair play rules introduced for the first time at World Cup along with the video assistant referee (VAR) system. According to the fair play rules, teams will get -1 point if they get first yellow card, -3 points for receiving second yellow card or indirect red card, -4 points for direct red card, and -5 points for yellow card and direct red card. Japan got four yellow cards during the group stage, fewer than six yellow card of Senegal. Japan could have been knocked out if Senegal had scored during the remaining time.
Japan’s “unfair play” not befitting of a World Cup is being slammed around the globe. BBC commentator and Northern Ireland coach Michael O'Neill said the situation is mindboggling and he hopes “they (Japan) get battered in the next round.” “Japan’s play is far from fair,” MBC commentator Ahn Jung-hwan said. “As a former player myself, this is a shameful match. It was a waste of my time preparing for the commentary of this game.”
Japan will play against Belgium, which finished first in Group G with three straight wins, on Tuesday at 3 a.m. at Rostov Arena.
Heon-Jae Lee email@example.com