Kelly Smith on Japan advancing: ‘They’re a team to watch out for’ | 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Today

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Kelly Smith, Martin O'Neill, Alexi Lalas, and Rob Stone discuss Japan's 1-0 loss to Poland, which still allows them to qualify to the round of 16 at Senegal's expense due to the FIFA Fair Play Points tiebreaker. Japan advance as the runner-up and will take on the winner of Group G, either England or Belgium.

- So Japan moves forward. They had some impressive moments through this tournament. I don't know if they're looking like world beaters right now in how they kind of back themselves into. It's always an interesting proposition as far as how they use that going forward.

- Yeah. For me, Japan are so good technically and going forward, they create a lot chances. But they go about their business quite quietly. We haven't really talked about them that much. But yet, they find themselves through, and yeah, they're a team now to watch out for, certainly.

- Well, there was a period in that game where they were actually out of the competition. And I didn't think they were doing enough to try and win the game themselves, or at least get back into it. So they have-- I can't say by default gone through, because they've got the points on the board, and they will say they've deserved them. But certainly, it's rather fortuitous towards the end of their-- that particular game. [INAUDIBLE]

- So Japan is able to advance, and yeah, I think you're right. If you're Belgium or England, there's been all this conversation. We're going to get into the weeds of it soon about, do you want to finish first? Do you want to finish second?

A lot of folks say in second place, you're on the easier side of the bracket. But you're now matched up with a Colombia team. And if Colombia's at full strength, I don't think that's a team you really, ideally want to see. I think if you had your druthers, you'd probably much rather see Japan. Am I off on this one? Sound about right?

- No. No, I think you are right. But I mean, Colombia were unimpressive today. No question about that. They were unimpressive at a time when they probably, at the outset, probably had to win the game. As it turns out, it wasn't a case of what they have done. I think they can get better again. I think when you get back to the form where they absolutely mauled Poland, I think they can do that with or without Rodriguez. But they'll have to show a great deal more likely to win their group of 16 game.