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It was not pretty, but Japan did what was necessary to survive at the World Cup. If the Samurai Blue can make history by beating Belgium on Monday to reach the quarterfinals for the first time, the rather undignified end to Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Poland will be long forgotten.

Japan progressed to the second round despite suffering its first loss of the tournament against the Poles, with Jan Bednarek’s 59th-minute goal ultimately not proving fatal thanks to a 1-0 win for Colombia against Senegal elsewhere in Group H. Japan squeezed through by virtue of having collected fewer yellow cards than Senegal over the three first-round games, with both teams’ records otherwise identical.

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