Day Six saw the first round of group matches completed as Group H finally got underway.
Russia then kicked off the second round of group games as they faced Mohamed Salah’s Egypt, knowing that a win will almost certainly guarantee their qualification for knockout stages.
Surprise Group H Toppers
Group H opened with a couple of shockers as Japan and Senegal lead after winning the opening round of Group H games by 2-1 score lines.
Japan’s win was more dramatic after Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez saw red for handballing Shinji Kagawa’s effort.
Kagawa stepped up and slotted home to give Japan the lead after six minutes.
Colombia then fought back and got their reward through a Juan-Fernando Quintero free-kick squeezing into bottom corner, past Eiji Kawashima in 39th minute.
After break, Japan dominated and got their reward when Yuya Osako headed in from Keisuke Honda’s corner to put the Asian side back in front and wrap up the match with 17 minutes left.
Senegal meanwhile edged a rather boring match against Poland via a couple of well taken chances.
Their first came via an Idrissa Gueye shot deflected into net for an own goal by Thiago Cionek.
Both sides then had chances before M’Baye Niang flicked past Wojciech Szczesny and found an empty net to put Senegal two goals to the good just after the hour mark.
Poland pulled one back from a free-kick when Grzegorz Krychowiak headed in from near post with ball going into bottom right.
Ultimately, it wasn’t tough and Senegal share top spot with Japan ahead of their meeting on Sunday.
Poland will face Colombia in what is a must win for both teams in terms of their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
Russia Nearly ThroughEmbed from Getty Images
Russia need Uruguay to pick up at least one point tomorrow and their passage into the last 16 will be confirmed, having beaten Egypt 3-1 tonight.
A tight opening half saw Russia have the better of the chances but they came out and turned the screws after half time.
Aleksandr Golovin’s cross was met by Ahmed Fathy who turned it into his own net just two minutes into the second half.
Denis Cherysev then rifled home a pass from Mario Fernandes, who picked up Aleksandr Samedov’s cross from the right flank to put Russia 2-0 up before the hour mark.
Minutes later, Artem Dzyuba connected with a high cross from Ilya Kutepov ball, side -stepped a Egypt defender and blasted it home to all but finish the game off.
Mohamed Salah however got brought down in box ten minutes later for a penalty. The Liverpool star stepped up and put it in top right hand corner, despite Igor Akinfeev diving the right way.
In the end, it wasn’t enough with Russia holding out to extend their lead at top of Group A to six points.
Tomorrow sees Uruguay meet Saudi Arabia and at least one point for the South-American side will send Russia through into last 16.