Japan 2, Senegal 2
Group H, Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekaterinburg
In an overall even match, Japan and Senegal walk away from the game with a point apiece. They are tied atop the group with four points and will await the result of Sunday’s late meeting between Poland and Colombia.
Senegal struck first, scoring in the 12th minute, but Japan was able to equalize before halftime. Senegal managed to score again in the 71st minute, but just like in the first half, Japan clawed back.
Senegal had a chance at the very end to retake the lead, but came up short. So for today, a draw will have to do.
Senegal’s Youssouf Sabaly got the card in the 90th minute. Just one minute later, another card was dealt to Senegal’s Cheikh Ndoye. In the 93rd minute, Senegal’s Makoto Hasebe also received a yellow card.
Japan ties the game again in the 78th minute. Senegal goalkeeper Khadim N’Diaye came off his line to punch away a cross but missed, leading to a scramble in the box. The ball got to Keisuke Honda open in front of the empty goal for an easy finish.
Senegal retook the lead in the 71st minute. Youssouf Sabaly passed in front of the box to Mbaye Niang, whose backheel met a charging Moussa Wague for a blast into the net.
Against Japan’s Takashi Inui in the 67th minute after dragging Ismaila Sarr to the ground just inside the penalty box.
Called against Senegal’s Mbaye Niang in the 58th minute. Niang flailed his arm into the face of Gen Shoji.
Heading into the locker rooms after the first 45 minutes, Japan and Senegal are deadlocked at one each.
Not only is the score even, but the matchup has been pretty even as well. At the 30-minute mark, the teams had a 50-50 split in possession time. That number began to lean slightly more in Japan’s favor and finished the half with 60 percent of possession.
Japan scored an equalizing goal in the 33rd minute when midfielder Takashi Inui curled the ball in the the right corner of the net.
Senegal scored the game’s first goal in the 12th minute. Sadio Mane tapped the ball past Japan’s goalkeeper after Moussa Wague initially stuck the ball from outside.
Japan is entering this clash with both high confidence and high hopes after upsetting Colombia in its opening match. Japan’s 2-1 win was the first for an Asian team against a South American side in 18 World Cup meetings, and it gave the Japanese a path toward their third knockout-round appearance over the last five World Cups.
Senegal’s victory over Poland, meantime, sparked a bit of controversy — or at least the game-winning goal did. Mbaye Niang , who had been on the sideline while being treated for injury, was allowed to re-enter the game in the 60th minute just as Poland was making a back pass; he intercepted it and tapped the ball into an empty net.
But Senegal’s success is no fluke; all but one of the Lions of Teranga’s 23 players are employed in Europe, and if things break right, Senegal could clinch a knockout round berth by Sunday’s end.
Also, do you think Senegal is having any fun?
Want smart analysis, opinions, viewing guides and more from the World Cup? Sign up for our month-long newsletter. Every match day through the final July 15.
When: Sunday, 11 a.m. Eastern.
How to watch on TV: Fox.
How to stream online: Fox Sports and the Fox Soccer Match Pass apps and FoxSportsGo.com.
How to watch in Spanish: Telemundo.
How to watch in Canada: Bell Media’s TSN and CTV networks, the TSN GO app and TSN.ca/live.
Japan (1-0-0, 3 points)
- Last showing in the World Cup: Group stage, 2014.
- Best finish: Round of 16, 2010 and 2002.
- Notable: Japan has not won consecutive games at the World Cup since 2002, when it won its final two group stage matches.
- FIFA world ranking: 61. ELO world ranking: 34.
Senegal (1-0-0, 3 points)
- Last showing in the World Cup: Quarterfinals, 2002.
- Best finish: Quarterfinals, 2002.
- Notable: Senegal Coach Aliou Cisse, the national team’s captain during its greatest moment, is the World Cup’s only black coach and the tournament’s youngest coach.
- FIFA world ranking: 27. ELO world ranking: 22.
Players to watch
Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa is known to be a footwork magician, creating space for himself and his teammates. One of the beneficiaries is striker Shinji Okazaki, who has a scoring touch, with 50 goals for the national team. Senegal’s Kalidou Koulibaly, who stands at 6-foot-4, is a top-tier defender who can use his size to his advantage. On the offensive side for Senegal is wing Sadio Mane (Liverpool), who has speed, ball skills and a quick shot.
Japan: vs. Poland in Volgograd, Thursday, 10 a.m.
Senegal: vs. Colombia in Samara, Thursday, 10 a.m.
Read more about the World Cup: