Monday 24 September, 2018

Japan advance on yellow cards despite losing at World Cup

Poland's Jan Bednarek, left with number 5, celebrates after scoring scoring against Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, right, during the group H match at the 2018 football World Cup at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia, Thursday, June 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko).

Poland's Jan Bednarek, left with number 5, celebrates after scoring scoring against Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, right, during the group H match at the 2018 football World Cup at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia, Thursday, June 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko).

Japan advanced to the knockout round at the World Cup in Russia on a tiebreaker, fewer yellow cards than Senegal.

The Japanese lost to Poland 1-0 Thursday in their final group match, but they still reached the round of 16 because Colombia beat Senegal 1-0.

Both Japan and Senegal finished the group phase with four points, had the same goal difference and the same amount of goals scored. Starting at this year's tournament, disciplinary records — known as fair play — were added by FIFA as a tiebreaker. Japan had four yellow cards in its three group matches while Senegal had six.

Poland, which had already been eliminated, got its goal from defender Jan Bednarek in the 59th minute. He beat his marker at the far post and volleyed in a swerving free kick from Rafal Kurzawa.

Japan has reached the knockout round at the World Cup three times in the last five tournaments.