One of the best things about the World Cup are random games that turn into classics, aided by the stage provided by the world’s biggest sporting event.

Senegal and Japan proved that again today; both squads are good, but not expected to be contenders for a deep run, yet both had also won their opening matches, over Poland and Colombia, respectively. That meant that if either team pulled off the win today, they were likely through to the next round. Those stakes, combined with both teams being good enough to be entertaining while not good enough to guarantee a one-sided game, led to a very fun match.

You can watch the full match highlights here:

Or if you prefer, the goals; first, Sadio Mane opened things up for Senegal:

But Inui tied things up for Japan very shortly after:

Then 19-year-old Moussa Wague lasered a side-footed shot for the 2-1 lead:

But just minutes later, Japanese talisman Keisuke Honda leveled things at 2-2:

It was a nail-biter throughout, and considering most pre-tournament projections had one or both of these teams going out in the group stage, they have to both be very pleased with where they stand heading into the final group stage match. (Especially Japan, who have the less-intimidating Poland remaining, while Senegal has to deal with Colombia.)

But matches like this make the World Cup what it is. Hopefully the impending 48-team version retains some of that magic.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.