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Colombia defeated Senegal 1-0 to advance to the World Cup round of 16. But on the other side, Senegal become the first team in World Cup history to get knocked out due to fair play.
Yerry Mina’s 74th-minute header allowed Colombia to top the group on six points.
Senegal finished level on four points with Japan. Both Japan and Senegal had even goal differences and had scored four goals each. But Japan advanced as runners-up because they only picked up four yellow cards in the group stage, while Senegal had six.
The fair play ranking is being used as a tiebreaker for the first time at a World Cup. Previously, a random drawing of lots would have decided which team would advance.
Senegal had a penalty when Sadio Mane went down in the area on 17 minutes. However, after consultation with the video assistant referee, the decision was reversed. After Poland took the lead over Japan in the other game, a draw would have seen both Colombia and Senegal through. But Mina rose highest to head in Juan Quintero’s corner to put the South American side ahead.
News of Jan Bednarek’s goal for Poland gave a lift to fans of both Colombia and Senegal as the tension levels in Samara continued to rise.
It wasn’t all good news for Colombia. James Rodriguez left the game in the first half with what appeared to be a recurrence of the calf injury. It also kept him out in the first game.
Colombia settled for their one-goal lead. Senegal could not force in an equaliser to keep them in the World Cup. Their fair play record gave them an unwanted piece of history in the end.
Colombia will face the runners-up of Group G, either England or Belgium. They face later on tonight. Their ranking will also be decided via fair play should they draw.
FT: Colombia 1-0 Senegal