Bednarek's goal gave his side a deserved win and it could have been two - which would have eliminated Japan - if star striker Robert Lewandowski had not missed a glorious second-half chance.
Japan coach Akira Nishino said he had not meant to settle for a 1-0 defeat, calling his reliance on fair play "a very tough and risky situation". Widely regarded as an unsatisfying way of deciding qualification, the farcical nature of Japan's willingness to do nothing at all, completely relying, as Nishino alluded to; "the other match".
'This will not sweeten our losses or the results of those two matches, but we have to say we have accumulated a lot of experience at this World Cup and we have plans and ambitions and I think we will go forward'. I forced my players to do what I said. "It's the World Cup, and sometimes these things can't be avoided".
In their detailed rundown of training following the 2-2 draw with Senegal, the Japanese Football Association made no mention of injury concerns or players under observation, suggesting a clean bill of health for their squad. Japan had four yellow cards in its three group matches while Senegal had six.
Once Colombia had scored in Samara, Japan knew it had done enough to advance even though it was losing late in its match.
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Gary Lineker, analysing the highlights of the match following Colombia's win over Senegal, echoed the sentiments of most football fans by saying: "This surely goes against what the game stands for".
Akira Nishino's team finished second in Group H and will face Group G winners Belgium in the first knockout round.
Poland star striker Robert Lewandowski missed a good chance to double the lead in the 74th minute, meaning he failed to score in all three matches he played at the World Cup in Russian Federation.
In their only previous meeting with an Asian team in the World Cup, Poland lost 2-0 against South Korea in 2002.
Senegal, however, has become the first victim of the new tiebreaker.