Senegal 2-1 Poland
Senegal secured Africa’s first win in Russia thanks to a couple of errors from the Poles in Moscow. Thiago Cionek first put through his own net in the 37th minute deflecting a shot from Idrissa Gueye beyond Wojech Szczesny before a needless long ball from Grzegorz krychowiak towards his own goal was pounced on by M’Baye Niang poking it past the onrushing Szczesny to add to Senegal’s tally. Adam Nawalka’s charges searched endlessly for a way back and were rewarded when Krychowiak headed in from a Kamil Grosicki free-kick but it was not enough stop Senegal securing all three points.
Colombia 1-2 Japan
Colombia were reduced to 10-men three minutes into the game at the Mordovia Arena after Carlos Sanchez received a straight red card for blocking Shinji Kagawa’s shot with his arm. Kagawa coolly dispatched the resulting spot-kick as Japan took a surprise lead. Despite their numerical disadvantage, Colombia got an equaliser six minutes from the break via a Juan Quintero free-kick, the River Plate man driving a low strike into the bottom left corner. Japan then took the lead again in the 73rd minute courtesy Yuya Osako’s header and despite Colombia’s desperate efforts to claim something other than a loss, the Asians held firm.
Colombia 3-0 Poland
Colombia suffered a scary start to their world cup campaign losing to Japan in a below-par display but in their second group match against Poland in Kazan, the South Americans put up an improved performance aided by the return of James Rodriguez. Five minutes before half-time, Yerry Mina rose high to get on the end of a James cross. At one end, Robert Lewandowski cut an isolated figure while at the other Radamel Falcao was scoring his first world cup goal to double the advantage for Colombia in the 70th minute. Five minutes later, Juan Cuadrado was set up by the talismanic James to add another for the Colombians.
Japan 2-2 Senegal
Senegal thought they had sealed qualification to the next round when Moussa Wague scored after 71 minutes but Keisuke Honda had other plans as he drew Japan level with a strike from eight yards. Japan twice had to come back from a one-goal deficit to secure a share of the spoils. First in the 34th minute when Takashi Inui struck from 15 yards out after Sadio Mane’s fortuitous opener then with twelve minutes on the clock, Honda equalised from close range.
Colombia 1-0 Senegal
Yerry Mina rose highest to power an header off Juan Quintero’s cross into the back of the net. Both teams came into the encounter searching for something positive as the chances of qualification lay wide open. In the other group game between Japan and Poland, Jan Bednarek’s 59th minute header meant Senegal and Colombia would go on to qualify if they both played out a draw. However, that was not to be the case as Colombia took the lead via a Mina thumping header with sixteen minutes of normal time left to play.
Japan 0-1 Poland
Although Japan’s defeat to Poland did not leave a sour taste, it could have been worse had Senegal gotten an equaliser against Colombia. The Samurai Blue narrowly escaped elimination by virtue of a superior disciplinary record. The encounter at the Volgograd Arena failed to excite as both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances with Japan content to see out a draw.
In the second half the Poles took the lead when Jan Bednarek got on the end of Rafal kurzawa’s free-kick to volley home. Despite the risk of Senegal getting at least a vital point against Colombia, Japan made a tactical switch to sit deep and not concede any further.