Colombia beat and eliminated Senegal 1-0 in Samara, on Thursday, to top Group H and advance together with Japan to the round of 16 at the World Cup. Senegal, meanwhile, are heading out on Fair Play points. Japan lost to Poland 1-0 but still moved on as second-place finishers. Poland go home from Russia with a victory.
Yerry Mina scored on a header in the 74th minute to give Colombia a 1-0 win over the Senegalese and vault the South Americans from going home to winning the group. Japan beat out Senegal for the second spot despite its 1-0 loss because it accumulated four yellow cards to Senegal’s six.
Senegal is the first team in history to get eliminated on a new tiebreaker that punishes squads each time their players pick up yellow or red cards. Japan are the first team in history to progress on the fair play rule.
It’s the first time since 1982 that no African team has qualified for the knockout stage.
Colombia and Japan go on to play opponents from Group G — either England or Belgium. Those teams play later Thursday for the top spot in their group.
This is the third time Colombia have reached the last 16.
Senegal was denied a first-half penalty kick against Colombia that the referee awarded but officials overturned after video review.
Referee Milorad Mazic of Serbia pointed to the penalty spot after defender Davinson Sanchez tackled Senegal’s Sadio Mane near the penalty spot in the 16th minute.
But officials overturned the call after reviewing video, determining that Sanchez’s heel touched the ball away before he made contact with Mane.
Colombia needed at least a draw to advance to the World Cup knockout stage, while a draw would guarantee Senegal goes through.
“There is no magic formula to football and one single answer to why one team beats another. I think we worked the set piece [which led to the goal] very well and that was not a coincidence as we have players who are excellent with their feet and with their head. But there were also some very worrying moments, especially in the first half, when Senegal played very well and it was tough for us to maintain our identity. We managed to defend successfully though, and they didn’t create many goalscoring opportunities. The match was tough because we couldn’t get the necessary control in central midfield to enable us to feed the right kind of balls to Falcao. This was a very even group and you see that with Senegal, who had a very good tournament, going home. There was a lot of tension in the air today and, in that regard, I think my team did very well.” Jose Pekerman, Colombia coach said at the post match presser.
“I am very proud of my team today and I’m proud of their work. But Senegal have not qualified because we did not deserve to qualify. Such is life. Fair Play points are one of the rules and these rules have been established in the tournament regulations; we have to respect that. We would have preferred to be eliminated in another way but that’s the way it works and we knew that those were the regulations. I feel we could have scored in the first half and I think we controlled the match quite well. I’m just disappointed for my team, for this generation and for these players who fight every single day for our country. I will continue to encourage them and to be with them because I think we can expect many more good things from them in the future.” Aliou Cisse, Senegal coach said.
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The 11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.