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Colombia prepares for must-win battle against Poland

24 June 2018

But Honda, the former AC Milan midfielder who had only been on the pitch six minutes, hit the late equaliser to leave Group H up for grabs.

Senegal missed a glorious opportunity to become the first African country to the reach the round of 16 of the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup by twice squandering a lead to play out a 2-2 draw with Japan. He has 37 global goals in his career. "Honda was moved from centre to the wide side and he was very versatile at adapting to that position". Things shouldn't be ideal there for Colombia either, so this could mean we're going to see quite a few goals.

Mane put Senegal ahead on 11 minutes but their lead did not last too long as Takashi Inui's lovely curling finish brought Japan back into the game in the 34th minute.

A poor headed clearance landed right at Youssouf Sabaly's feet and although goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima managed to parry the defender's stinging shot from the left, the ball rebounded into the net off Mane's knee.

Yet despite Japan's dominance, Senegal stood firm and got their reward for withstanding the pressure when a ball across the area fell to Moussa Wague and the full-back blasted it high into the back of the net to score his first ever global goal.

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Former AC Milan man Honda came off the bench to set up Yuya Osako's victor against Colombia but also put Japan's defence under pressure with an error - which he defended - in the closing stages against the South Americans. Japan had only two. "If we can make all the other African nations proud, that is twice as glorious", Mbaye Niang, who scored the second decisive goal for the Senegalese, said. "It's them or us".

"We need to earn maximum points".

Sunday's match will be the first competitive meeting between the two countries. "It is not just Yoshida, but all the players - we are giving them information about Mane, though I am sure he will be in some duels with Mane", Nishino said.

Southgate's task now will be to keep his young charges' grounded, and guard against complacency whomever they face next from Group H's quartet of Japan, Senegal, Poland and Colombia.

With James still doubtful, Pekerman is poring over the tactics required to both get the best out of Falcao and beat a Poland side that, following their 2-1 loss to Senegal, will be intent on adding to Colombia's woes.

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Sadio Mané is the standout for Senegal, and their physical defence may thwart the Japanese strike-force.

As a result, Poland or Colombia can win today and pull within a point of first place with a game to go. We faced a very good team who created many chances and scored two goals.

Four years later, in South Korea and Japan, the African representatives started the adventure with a bang as the Lions of Teranga defeated the then defending champions, France, 1-0 in the opening match of the World Cup finals.

Before their afternoon training session Thursday, the team received a visit from Princess Hisako, honorary patron of the Japan Football Association.

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Colombia prepares for must-win battle against Poland