By 90Min
June 28, 2018

Japan manager Akira Nishino expressed his regret for instructing his side to resort to a farcical plan in order to secure qualification for the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Despite being a goal down against Poland, Nishino's side spent the last ten minutes of the match passing the ball back and forth rather than going for the equaliser, knowing that they would progress to the next round if the scoreline of Colombia's match with Senegal did not change.

NICOLAS ASFOURI/GettyImages

Although Japan ran the risk of Senegal scoring in their match, no goal materialised and Japan advanced to the round of 16 in spite of their poor sportsmanship.

Speaking in his post-match press conference (via Balls.ie) Nishino said: "It was just the situation that forced me to make the decision and we did not go for the offence. And my decision was to rely on the other match. 

PHILIPPE DESMAZES/GettyImages

"I’m not too happy about this but I forced my players to do what I said."

Nishino also explained his decision to bring on midfielder Makoto Hasebe with his final substitution of the match, rather than bring on a striker to help his side grab a late goal.

"When I put on Hasebe I told him what was in my mind. ‘Do not go for any high risks.’ I told him not to concede any yellow cards, go 4-1-4-1, defensive, and then I told him to tell the team to 'stay put'.

"We did not go for victory, but we just relied on the other match. I view that it was slightly regrettable but I suppose at that point that I didn’t have any other plans.

"They were booing in the stadium and I’m sure the players heard that."

MARK RALSTON/GettyImages

Controvery asidJapan finished second in Group H via the fair play rule, having received fewer yellow cards than Senegal.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)