Jan Bednarek scored the only goal of the game for the already-eliminated Poles a minute before the hour mark to condemn Japan to their first defeat of the campaign, in what proved to be a woeful display from the Asian side.
With Japan and Senegal having drawn 2-2, the sides were split in a World Cup first by FIFA's new tie-breaking "fair play" regulation, which compared the sides' disciplinary records across their three group matches.
All the pre-tournament talk ended with the first match as young and vibrant Senegal side defeated Poland 2-1 after 2 horrendous mistake's leading to a goal made by the Polish players.
The result means Japan reach the knockout phase for the third time in their six World Cups but Nishino had to face some hard questions about his decisions for the match at a sweltering Volgograd Arena.
"I decided that I was going to rely on the other match's result", he told reporters.
Fans pay big money to attend World Cup matches for the experience and to be entertained but neither Japan and Poland cared about that on this occasion.
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But the first lady's husband undercut the no-message message by tweeting that she was saying she really doesn't care about the "fake news" media.
Ryu Kuroda, a 30-year-old from Tokyo who was also in the Russian city, said he understood it as a tactic but that he "wanted to see Japan score". I'm not too happy about this but I forced my players to do what I said.
"The idea was to use players who were fresh and try to get a 0-0 draw".
Senegal's six yellow cards to Japan's four ultimately cost the African side, which exits Russian Federation in disappointing circumstances.
With scores level in the simultaneous Senegal and Colombia clash, the goal saw Japan fall to third spot in the group. He beat his marker at the far post and volleyed in a swerving free kick from Rafal Kurzawa. Their best chance came with 32 minutes played, after a bullet header from Grosicky was just scraped out by Kawashima, with the ball just millimetres from crossing the line.
Their main man, striker Robert Lewandowski, powered in 16 goals during the qualifiers - but failed to score in Russian Federation, ending his miserable tournament with another spurned chance against Japan.
For after Colombia scored against Senegal in the 74th minute, putting qualification in Japan's hands, coach Akira Nishino ordered his players to take no risks, an approach that slowed the game and earned resounding boos from the crowd.