Pekerman wary of confident Three Lions in last 16

Kate even hung a Harry Kane flag on the wall

Down a goal to Poland but with news of Colombia's 1-0 lead over Senegal giving Japan one foot in the knockout stage thanks to the "fair play" tie-breaker, the Samurai Blue kept possession and ran down the clock to avoid conceding another goal or booking.

"It's up to us to make them proud, to fly the flag for Senegal and Africa at this World Cup", said Koulibaly, 27. They did what they had to do, though fortune certainly lent a helping hand.

Every four years, the leaders of the European Union are locked in meetings while one or more of their teams are playing in a World Cup match.

The events in Volgograd added to an unorthodox few weeks in the history of Japanese football.

Firing coach Vahid Halilhodzic in April was a bold move, despite poor results and reports of a breakdown in trust and communication with players under the Bosnian.

For now, though, Ireland's little-known World Cup record is safe. But it did not inspire.

"We did not go for victory, but we just relied on the other match".

Despite being ranked lowest among their rivals at 61st, Japan drew against Senegal to set-up a very intriguing last group stage round among the four teams in the group.

Nishino said he passed on clear instructions to the rest of the team when he sent on midfielder Makoto Hasebe as a second-half substitute - no risks and no yellow cards.

The 2010 winners at their best can still pass teams off the pitch, but Portugal demonstrated their weaknesses and even Iran had them rattled.

Here's what we have to look forward to (all NZT)...

African nations have suffered their worst World Cup in more than three decades after Senegal's group stage exit left the continent with no representatives in the knockout stage for the first time since 1982.

So ahead of the final game, everything seemed to be in place. Check. A favourable scenario? Yuya Osaka had looked risky in attack but was left out, as was Inui.

In his post-match media conference, head coach Jose Pekerman was unable to confirm if it was a recurrence of the calf problem that saw James start on the bench against Japan in the Group H opener.

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

Belgium finished top with Adnan Januzaj's second-half goal the only difference between the sides, and though England were only applying mild pressure at the end of the game, Alexander-Arnold was not pleased.

But with minutes remaining, any kind of urgency went from the game.

"We knew these were the regulations but we are fully committed and since we are committed maybe we get more yellow cards, it's a pity".

Yet Mina ensured Colombia were not made to pay when he headed home, sparking delirium among the Colombian fans who formed a sea of yellow inside the stadium.

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