It was the end result that the Japan Football Association (JFA) was looking for. However, the manner in which they "achieved" it was indescribably shameful.
Image from NDTV Sports
Down 1-0 to an already eliminated Poland, Japan did something that I have never seen them, or any team, do: they played for the loss!
No, you're not reading that incorrectly...Japan were content losing the game.
Why would anyone do this!?!???
Long story short, Japan panicked.
Rather than go for a goal (they're were in attack mode throughout most of the game), they suddenly lost their nerve.
Japan coach Nishino was listening to the play-by-play in the other game, Colombia vs Senegal, and learned that Colombia was up by one point.
At that point, Japan was technically ahead of Senegal due to the controversial "fair play" tie-breaker.
Which is fine, but Nishino forgot one small detail:
THEY DON'T CONTROL THEIR FATE!!!
HOW DARE HE ASSUME THE RESULT OF THE OTHER MATCH!?!???
Japan were razor-thin close to being eliminated.
Consider that a draw would have guaranteed them a spot in the Round of 16. But for a team this talented, and on the verge of going into the knock-out rounds, a draw is the absolute minimum target.
Instead, Japan resorted to winning through losing, an entirely new concept that not even the Germans or Brazilians would dare attempt.
Because, of course, these teams want the ball at their feet when the game is on the line.
Nishino's Japan apparently want the ball not only in someone else's feet, but on the feet of players that are not even involved in their game.
Let's also not forget the main reason why they're in this position...
Inexplicably, Nishino made six...yes, I said SIX changes to his starting line-up!!!
Excuse my French, but who the fuck does that with the World Cup knock-out rounds beckoning???
I'll tell you who...
Someone who got paid to betray his country!!
Nishino better pray, and I mean PRAY that he at least gets Japan to the quarterfinals.
Because another one-and-done in the Round of 16 just isn't going to cut it any more, especially when he had a golden opportunity to go firmly ahead in Group H, giving his team a much easier bracket to contend with.
Instead, he must deal with the toughest group, which features 4 former world champions.
My only question is this: