Idrissa Gana Gueye produced typically energetic midfield display as Senegal drew 2-2 with Japan to put them in a strong position to qualify for the last 16.
The result puts the sides level on four points at the top of Group H, with Senegal set to face Colombia in their final group stage game on Thursday afternoon.
Gana helped set the tempo for his side throughout, with his 41 passes surpassed only by central defender Salif Sane in the Senegal side.
His quality in possession was also evident as he had the highest passing accuracy of any Senegal player that completed the 90 minutes.
Aliou Cisse’s men went ahead on 11 minutes when Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima’s attempted punched clearance rebounded off Sadio Mane and into the net.
Japan drew level on 34 minutes, however, Takashi Inui’s precise curled finish finding the bottom corner.
Chances came and went for both sides but it was Senegal who were to strike next. Twenty minutes from time, 19-year-old substitute Moussa Wague rifled home after racing in at the back post to put the Lions of Teranga back in front.
But Japan were to draw level again 12 minutes from time, Keisuke Honda finishing from close range to secure a share of the spoils.
Gana and Senegal head into their final group game knowing a win will be enough to book their spot in the last 16 – and a clash with either England or Belgium.