World Cup workers at the Ekaterinburg Arena may be able to put their feet up on Sunday as Japan and Senegal roll into town for their Group H meeting.
Both sides come into the clash high on confidence following 2-1 victories over Colombia and Poland respectively, meaning another success will all-but guarantee a spot in the second round.
And it was not just on the field that the two nations earned praise following their opening wins, as their supporters took the time to clean up the rubbish around them after the games in Saransk and Moscow, making life easier for the volunteers in those stadiums.
M'Baye Niang scored what proved to be a decisive second for Senegal against Poland in sneaky fashion, returning to the field following an injury just in time to capitalise on a mix-up between Grzegorz Krychowiak and Wojciech Szczesny to round the keeper and score.
After netting his first international goal, the forward was quick to turn his attention to a meeting with the Blue Samurai as Senegal look to reach the last 16 in only their second appearance at the finals.
"My benefit, of which you speak, is the work of a whole group," Niang said. "We must not give up and we must continue to work. Nothing is yet acquired, we must continue to work to achieve our goal.
"It's a good team. We are preparing and we will have time to study this team from Japan, which has qualities."
Japan were aided by a third-minute red card for Colombia's Carlos Sanchez in their opening fixture, and defender Yuto Nagatomo believes he and his team-mates must be wary of Senegal's threat on the counter.
"Their speed and physicality is something I expected, but what stood out was their discipline," he said. "They moved as a connected unit, with every piece interlocking.
"There is an impression sometimes that African teams, while having great individual talent, have a weakness when it comes to organisation, but there is little sign of that [with Senegal]. Everyone has a high awareness of defence and they are outstanding on the counter-attack."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Japan - Shinji Kagawa
It was his goalbound effort that was handled by Sanchez for the second-fastest dismissal in World Cup history, and the Borussia Dortmund midfielder inflicted further punishment on Colombia by slotting the resulting penalty. Japan will look to him to be their creative force once more.
Senegal - Idrissa Gueye
Sadio Mane is the stand-out talent within this Senegal side, but Everton midfielder Gueye provides the protective shield from which a foundation can be built. He will have to be careful, though, as a yellow card against Poland means another on Sunday will rule him out of a potentially crucial final meeting with Colombia.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- No Asian nation has ever won both of their opening two games at a World Cup tournament.
- Japan have not won consecutive games at the World Cup since 2002, when they co-hosted the tournament with South Korea. On that occasion it was in their second and third game of the group stage (versus Russia and Tunisia).
- Senegal have conceded just five goals in their last nine matches in all competitions, with four of them coming in the second half of games.
- Only two African nations have ever won both of their opening two matches to a World Cup tournament – Cameroon in 1990 and Nigeria in 1998.
- Keisuke Honda has been directly involved in six of Japan's last eight goals scored at World Cup tournaments with three goals and three assists.
|Chiefs pounce on Sarries setback, Quins make it four in a row|
|Paris Saint-Germain 3 Nimes 0: Mbappe reaches Ligue 1 milestone|
|Kovac waiting on Coman tests after winger lasts nine minutes against Hertha|
|Championship Review: Leeds, Norwich both win|
|Messi insists LaLiga is not over despite downing Sevilla with 50th career hat-trick|
|Brilliant Bencic outlasts Kvitova to complete week of Dubai upsets|
|Sevilla 2 Barcelona 4: Messi hat-trick saves LaLiga leaders|
|Bournemouth 1 Wolves 1: King goes from penalty hero to villain|
|Newcastle United 2 Huddersfield Town 0: Magpies four clear of drop as Almiron sparkles|
|Zazai and Afghanistan smash records galore in thumping victory over Ireland|
|Dyche: Burnley have restored key core values|
|Kohli warns India over ´bad habits´ in IPL|
|Bayern Munich 1 Hertha Berlin 0: Martinez sends champions level at top|
|France bounce back as Scotland suffer familiar Paris pain|
|It was obvious! - Lloris furious at Dean decision|
|Maybe the cables crossed in my brain - Pochettino explains Dean row|
|Captaining Ireland an incredible honour - O´Mahony|
|Zazai´s 162 leads Afghanistan to record T20I total|
|Benitez: Ashley and I need to be on the same page|
|Burnley 2 Tottenham 1: Barnes hits late winner after Kane´s goalscoring return|
|Simeone has no gripe with Ronaldo over Atletico Madrid insult|
|Icardi remains sidelined for Inter´s Fiorentina trip|
|Sangakkara leads Sri Lanka plaudits after historic triumph|
|Solari still committed to LaLiga title race|
|Allegri calls on Juventus to ´do something extraordinary´ after Atletico loss|
|DeRozan humbled by reception on bittersweet Raptors return|
|Du Plessis laments lacklustre Proteas display|
|Hard work pays off for Karunaratne´s Sri Lanka|
|De Laurentiis aims jibe at Juventus and Ronaldo|
|BREAKING NEWS: Kane returns for Spurs at Burnley|
|Champions Crusaders outclass Hurricanes|
|Sri Lanka make history with series win in South Africa|
|Mane: Putting pressure on ourselves won´t help Liverpool|
|Thunder´s George: That was a statement|
|Leclerc ready to battle for top Ferrari billing|
|Man United outing was a learning experience – Alexander-Arnold|
|Redknapp expects more twists as under-pressure Liverpool seek to end title drought|
|Chelsea v Manchester City: Myopic Blues should show Sarri faith regardless of Wembley result|
|Westbrook´s streak ends in Thunder win, Raptors best DeRozan in return|
|Johnson happy with patient approach in Mexico|
|Italy, Poland secure World Cup spots|
|Del Potro stunned, Isner through at Delray Beach|
|Klopp: Man United clash not decisive|
|Mbappe, Di Maria partnership pleases Tuchel|
|WATCH: Raptors pay tribute to DeRozan in return to Toronto|
|Trahan in three-way tie for lead in Puerto Rico|
|Trump on Kraft charge: He´s proclaimed his innocence totally|
|Van Uytvanck battles back to stay on course in Budapest|
|Johnson moves into lead, McIlroy two shots back|
|Arsenal must show intensity to get fans on side - Emery|
|Impressive Tsitsipas through to last four in Marseille|
|England fall in line to Cottrell as West Indies level ODI series|
|Fulham ´scared´ after Hernandez handball - Ranieri|
|Gattuso encouraged by AC Milan´s rampant second-half showing|
|City respond to allegations relating to Sancho deal|
|Wenger will not be new sporting director, insists PSG president|
|´You shouldn´t be refereeing´ - Warnock blasts official after heavy defeat|
|Neymar and Mbappe ´2,000 per cent´ staying at PSG|
|Saints rally to see off Rhinos but Warrington lead the way|
|Gloucester hand Saracens rare Premiership defeat|
|Munster keep the Ospreys grounded as Warriors demolish Connacht|
|I don´t know the meaning of Sarriball - Chelsea boss focused on results|
|Who is Robert Kraft? The New England Patriots owner who helped build an NFL dynasty|
|Cardiff City 1 Watford 5: Deulofeu and Deeney down Bluebirds|
|West Ham 3 Fulham 1: Hernandez´s handling sparks Hammers recovery|
|Three team members treated following McLaren garage fire|
|AC Milan 3 Empoli 0: Piatek´s hot streak continues as Rossoneri roll on|
|Controversy mars Hernandez´s milestone goal|
|Laporte 2025: New deal earned through winning habit from Man City´s pass master|
|Watford and Everton reach agreement over Silva|