Sadio Mane revealed his “disappointment” after Senegal squandered the chance to take control of Group H.
Senegal were leading 2-1, with a place in the knockout stage looming large, but failed to see out the game and must now wait to confirm their progress in the tournament.
England could face either of these teams in the last 16, but both – level on points – have work to do in their final group games on Thursday to advance to the next stage.
“Frankly speaking we’re all disappointed and that’s normal, because there was a way to win this match,” said Liverpool forward Mane, who scored his side’s opener.
“We started the game well. We scored, then they equalised, and it was the same thing in the second-half.
“So we now have a decisive match to try to qualify. We’re going to try to prepare really well to qualify, because that’s the only thing for us left to do.
“Honestly, we’re all disappointed, because there was a chance to win the match and we didn’t do it but we can’t underestimate Japan.
“They played well and managed to create quite a lot of opportunities, scoring twice. We shared a point, it’s important to have that point, and we have a decisive game coming up.
“We have to manage this and take away the positive points in order to qualify for the last 16.”
Senegal took the lead after 11 minutes, Eiji Kawashima inexplicably deciding to punch away a shot from Youssouf Sabaly, despite Mane bearing down on him in the six-yard box.
Kawashima’s folly was punished with him succeeding only in punching the ball onto Mane and watching helplessly as it rebounded into his net.
But Japan levelled in the 34th minute, Yuto Nagatomo producing superb control to bring down a angled long-range ball, his second touch leaving Ismaila Sarr and Moussa Wague floundering.
Takashi Inui took the ball from his team-mate before curling a fine finish beyond the reach of Senegal keeper Khadim Ndiaye.
Osako should have scored just after the hour mark, but failed to turn the ball in, while Inui clipped the bar with a curled effort after a wonderful counter-attack.
Japan were made to pay for those misses, with Senegal restoring their the lead in the 71st minute. Mane played a part, starting the move that ended with 19-year-old left-back Moussa Wague scoring.
But substitute Keisuke Honda levelled with his 37th international goal, after Senegal keeper Ndiaye came for the ball and missed it, Inui steering it back for his team-mate to level, leaving Group H wide open.
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