The Japanese national football team advances to 2018 FIFA World Cup knockout stage, despite 0-1 defeat to Poland.

The Japanese national football team finished its last group stager match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup with 0-1 defeat to Poland on Thursday night in Volgograd, but finished second it its Group H to advance to the round of Last 16.

Following the scoreless first half of the match, which saw an attendance of almost 42,200, the score was opened five minutes into the second half by Polish defender Jan Bednarek. The goal of the 22-year-old player turned out to be the only one scored in the game.

In a parallel Group H game played in the Volga city of Samara, team Colombia beat Senegal also with the score of 1-0, meaning that the Colombian team finished the group stage in the top spot. The teams of Poland and Senegal are now packing home.

Japan is now set to play in the opening match of the knockout stage on July 2 in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, while Colombia will play on July 3 at the Spartak Arena in Moscow. Their opponents will be decided later in the day in the Group G match between England and Belgium.

Both England and Belgium have already qualified for the next round and tonight’s match in Russia’s westernmost city of Kaliningrad will only decide which team finishes in the top of the group. The winners in Group G will be facing Japan on July 2 and the runners-up will stand against Colombia in Moscow on July 3.

A total of 32 national football teams entered the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which is held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15, and only 16 of them proceeded to the knockout stage.

Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14.

The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

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