In Review

World Cup group H permutations: Japan vs. Poland, Senegal vs. Colombia

Three teams are vying for the final two places in the World Cup round of 16

There are only two spots remaining to be confirmed in the last 16 of the Fifa World Cup and they will be filled by the qualifiers from group H.

Poland have already been eliminated so it’s between Japan, Senegal and Colombia. After two group games each Japan and Senegal have four points while Colombia have three.

The final group H matches will see Japan take on Poland at the Volgograd Arena while Senegal and Colombia go head-to-head at the Samara Arena. Both final group H games kick-off today at 3pm UK time.

Group H permutations

Only Poland are eliminated so it’s between Japan, Senegal and Colombia for the two qualifying places in group H.

28 June fixtures: Japan vs. Poland (3pm, BBC Two), Senegal vs. Colombia (3pm, BBC One)

Fifa.com explains the permutations in group H:

  • Japan and Senegal each need a point to qualify 
  • Colombia can qualify if they beat Senegal 
  • A draw against Senegal could be good enough for Colombia if Poland beat Japan

Fifa.com explains how teams qualify: first step

  • Greatest number of points obtained in all group matches 
  • Goal difference in all group matches 
  • Greatest number of goals scored in all group matches

Second step: if two or more teams are equal on the basis of the first step

  • Greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned 
  • Goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned 
  • Greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned 
  • Greater number of points obtained in the fair play conduct of the teams based on yellow and red cards received in all group matches
  • Drawing of lots by the FIFA

Japan vs. Poland

  • When: Thursday 28 June  
  • Kick-off time: 3pm 
  • Where: Volgograd Arena, Volgograd 
  • TV channel: live on BBC Two

A point for Japan will see the Samurai Blue reach the World Cup knockout stages for the third time in their history, Fifa.com reports.   

At the Volgograd Arena today Japan face a Poland side already eliminated from the finals but team skipper Makoto Hasebe is not taking anything for granted.

Hasebe said: “Four points from two games is a decent result, but we haven’t achieved anything yet. When we step out on to that pitch, we have to think solely about winning. You won’t get the result when you hope that a draw will be enough.”

The BBC reports that Leicester City striker Shinji Okazaki could start against Poland after coming on as a sub in Japan’s previous two group games. Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima could also be replaced by Kosuke Nakamura. 

Poland are seeking their first points at the World Cup and defender Kamil Glik may return to the starting line-up after coming on during the 3-0 defeat against Colombia.

Japan vs. Poland predicted starting XIs

How the teams could line up at the Volgograd Arena, according to Fifa.com

  • Japan (4-2-3-1): Eiji Kawashima; Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Gen Shoji, Yuto Nagatomo; Makoto Hasebe, Gaku Shibasaki; Genki Haraguchi, Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Inui; Yuya Osako 
  • Poland (3-4-3): Lukasz Fabianski; Lukas Piszczek, Kamil Glik, Jan Bednarek; Bartosz Bereszynski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Jacek Goralski, Maciej Pybus; Piotr Zielinski, Robert Lewandowski, Kamil Grosicki

Senegal vs. Colombia

  • When: Thursday 28 June 
  • Kick-off time: 3pm 
  • Where: Samara Arena, Samara 
  • TV channel: live on BBC One

Senegal just need to avoid defeat to reach the World Cup round of 16, but they face a Colombia team who won 3-0 against Poland in their last group match. Victory for Colombia will see them qualify at Senegal’s expense.

Liverpool star Sadio Mane is Senegal’s main threat but his coach Aliou Cisse wants to see more of him against Colombia.

Cisse told the BBC: “A player like Sadio Mane is a player with a lot of expectations and he is one of the players under the spotlight. He can do better, but [against Japan] he was better than against Poland and he needs to do better against Colombia.” 

Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez is available after serving a one-match suspension for his red card against Japan, but midfielder Abel Aguilar is likely to miss today’s clash because of injury.

Senegal vs. Colombia predicted starting XIs

How the teams could line up at the Samara Arena, according to Fifa.com:

  • Senegal (4-3-3): Khadim Ndiaye; Youssouf Sabaly, Kalidou Koulibaly, Salif Sane, Moussa Wague; Cheikhou Kouyate, Pape Alioune Ndiaye, Idrissa Gana Gueye; Sadio Mane, Mbaye Niang, Ismaila Sarr 
  • Colombia (4-5-1): David Ospina; Santiago Arias, Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina, Johan Mojica; Mateus Uribe, Carlos Sanchez, Juan Cuadrado, Juan Quintero, James Rodriguez; Radamel Falcao

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