Alternatives to fair play points

Thibaut Courtois

These will be to-the-death matches, so these are extreme situations, [you have] to play a great game from the beginning.

The game ended in rather unusual scenes with both teams happy with the result and content to knock it around their defence.

Victory for the lowlands country in the final group game on Thursday night could be a win for both sides, the Taoiseach said.

Perhaps expectations being low (and they were very low), helped going into the opening game against Colombia.

With 10 minutes to go Japan were losing 1-0, but with Colombia leading Senegal by the same scoreline in the other simultaneous Group H tie it meant Japan would qualify on "fair play" with Colombia.

Belgium and Japan meet Monday in World Cup soccer action at the Rostov Arena.

According to Metro, incoming Chelsea FC manager Maurizio Sarri is hoping to make Koulibaly one of his first summer signings if he does indeed take over at Stamford Bridge this summer.

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One disgruntled fan noted the irony of Japan becoming the first team to advance under the "fair play" rule after collecting fewer bookings than Senegal, posting: "It's amusing how Japan went through playing anti-football but we live to fight another day".

So ahead of the final game, everything seemed to be in place. Muto was one of six changes to the starting lineup for the match.

It is important to note that the fair play conduct rule is applied on the basis of all group matches and not only the fair play conduct during the match between Senegal and Japan in this case.

A low-quality game was largely devoid of incident, although Japan goalkeeper pulled off a superb save from Kamil Grosicki.

Not surprisingly, it was a header from which Mina netted (four of his five goals for Colombia have been headers), rising majestically at the near post to power home the only goal of the game before setting off in his size 16 boots to lead his team's celebrations. Japan had picked up four yellow cards to Senegal's six. Colombia had a slight edge in possession, but Senegal created more goal-scoring chances. Nishino put Japan's fate in the lap of the Gods and, once again, got away with it.

"I'm not too happy about this but I forced my players to do what I said".

Just like qualification, it doesn't matter how you get there, the crucial thing is to do it.

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