Senegal, Japan: underdogs aiming for a round of 16 spot

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The Japan-Senegal match kicked off at midnight Japan time, meaning many fans will be spending a blurry-eyed Monday in their offices, especially those stranded downtown after public transport service had shut down for the night. As did Lineker, who scored three against Poland at the 1986 tournament.

But Honda, the former AC Milan midfielder who had only been on the pitch six minutes, hit the late equaliser to leave Group H up for grabs.

With stars such as Napoli duo Arkadiusz Milik and Piotr Zieliński, Łukasz Piszczek, Wojciech Szczęsny and sharp shooter Robert Lewandowski the Poles were tipped to advance out of this group.

The 29-year-old striker has averaged nearly a goal a game for Bayern in the past three seasons, and 57 percent of Poland's goals in World Cup qualifying came from the Warsaw native.

It was simply a case of Senegal being up for the game and Poland not. Panama was better than the USA over a 10-game qualifying tournament, full stop.

Japan performed one of the shocks of the tournament in their first group stage fixture. If they want to qualify from first place - this needs to be a big win. In excellent striking form with Bayern Munich - he scored 41 goals in 48 matches - Lewandowski started his preparations for the World Cup earlier than for the European championship in a bid to arrive fresher.

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This will be the fourth meeting between Japan and Senegal, with the African side unbeaten in the previous three (W2 D1, all friendlies).

The Asian giants, who drafted in Akira Nishino as coach just weeks before the World Cup, find themselves surprisingly top of Group H after beating Colombia 2-1 in their opener.

At club level, a move to Real Madrid after winning the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup seemed to herald the coming of a genuine superstar, perhaps even the leader of the group of players in the category behind the untouchables, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

A win for either would put them in the driving seat the for last 16 and you can see the game live on the Now TV World Cup channels.

"My target was (to win) the World Cup when I was a child because my father showed me the video of Pele playing in the World Cup", Honda explained.

Let's be perfectly clear: Panama deserved to be at this World Cup, and the USA did not.

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Senegal: N'Diaye, Wague, Sane, Koulibaly, Sabaly, Sarr, N'Diaye, Gueye, Niang, Mane, Diouf.

Japan: Kawashima; Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagamoto; Hasebe, Shibasaki; Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui, Osako. Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund and Shinji Okazaki of Leicester should play key roles. Also led his native Argentina to the quarter-finals in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The team also hopes to get more scoring opportunities from Liverpool forward Sadio Mane.

He failed to register a goal or an assist versus Poland but will look to threaten a shaky Japanese back-line which lacks pace.

"We lost the first game, but we did not lose faith".

This qualification has been contentious, with Senegal benefiting from an unprecedented decision by Federation Internationale de Football Association to order a replay of their 2-1 loss in South Africa because of match-fixing by the referee.

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