The result leaves the African nation, famous winners over defending champions France in the opening match of their last World Cup appearance in 2002, level with Japan who beat Colombia 2-1 at Mordovia Arena.
Group H was wide open even before the start, and with Senegal beating Poland 2-1 in Tuesday's other match, it may come down to goal permutations over points. Russia's convincing victory over Egypt, which has de-facto promoted the host nation to the knockout stage, as well as Poland and Colombia's unexpected defeats in Round 1, have become highlights of Day Six of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation.
Spain will also play Iran at the Kazan Arena.
"The positive side of all this is that you could see the team managed to rise to the occasion and managed to get a draw... that's a very good reaction", added Pekerman.
Where's the goalie? Senegal's Niang scores in an empty net.
"The players that I subbed onto the pitch shows that I was not expecting a defensive style of play..."
It was sweet revenge for Japan, who were thumped 4-1 by Colombia in Brazil four years ago, but they wasted plenty of chances to kill the game off.
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"If we had actually won the World Cup, we would have had a parade on the main street of Saransk", Japan coach Akira Nishino said. The side has never gone beyond the second round, but fans will be hopeful they can build on a strong start and post their best-ever finish. It was one of our worst performances for a long time.
"We improved the positive aspects the team displayed against Japan".
Shinji Kagawa scored from the penalty spot and although Juan Quintero equalised late in the first half, Japan made their superior numbers count, with Osako heading in from a corner to seal the win.
Colombia arrived at the World Cup lauded as one the most attractive teams, spearheaded by the influential James Rodriguez and with expectations of going far in the tournament.
But it was apparent within minutes, when Sanchez got the red card, that the rematch would not go so smoothly for the Colombians.
The second games in Group B happen tonight with Portugal facing Morocco at midnight and surprise table-toppers Iran meeting Spain at 6am.
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