Poland are already eliminated and Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski is yet to find the target in Russian Federation.
Japan lost 1-0 to Poland in their final group match of the World Cup, but still managed to progress to the knockout stages as a result of the fair play rule - picking up fewer yellow cards across the group stages than Senegal.
Senegal and Japan finished level on points, goal differential and goals scored, and they drew in their head-to-head meeting.
In the knockout stage, Japan will face either Belgium or England.
With Poland leading and Colombia drawing, Japan would be heading out of this summer's competition unless they can find a goal in the final 30 minutes. "We did not go for victory, but we just relied on the other match". I'm sure Poland will play for their pride, and then there is Lewandowski, who is a world-class marksman and I'm sure he will come out to score a goal, so we have to deal with that mentally. It was not intentional.
"It was a very tough decision, of course", Nishino said.
So risky indeed that had Poland scored another goal, Japan would have been sent tumbling out.
Nishino even praised his players for following the most negative of orders. I forced my players to do what I said. It was tough, as my style is attack minded.
If they succeed they will be the first Asian team to reach the second stage of the tournament since they did so in 2010 in South Africa.
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All thoughts of pushing for an equaliser were banished, and the booing from the Volgograd terraces became increasingly vociferous as Japan hogged the ball at the back in a match that descended into a lifeless training drill.
Poland, which had already been eliminated, got its goal from defender Jan Bednarek in the 59th minute.
Japan trails Poland 1-0 in the simultaneous match. There was a sense of injustice surrounding Japan's progression and Senegal's exit.
From the 80th minute on, Japan looked content with the result of the game and played keep ball as the time ran out.
They will be favorites against Poland, who have lost their two matches and have no chance of reaching the last 16.
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.
Some of the pundits and fans made their feelings clearly felt over Japan's controversial tactics in their final group match of the Fifa World Cup 2018.
That goal was cancelled out by Kendall Waston's header in the 56th minute, the central Americans' first goal of the tournament.But Switzerland will be left counting the cost after yellow cards for experienced defenders Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schaer mean they will miss the game against Sweden.