SAMARA/VOLGOGRAD: Yerry Mina’s second-half header sent Colombia into a potential last-16 tie with England at the World Cup at the expense of Senegal, who lost out to Japan having received more yellow cards.
Senegal spent the final 20 minutes pushing for an equaliser which would have sent the African side through – Aliou Cisse’s side were level with Japan in terms of points and goal difference, but crucially not yellow cards.
Colombia had to win to be sure of their progress but with Poland beating Japan 1-0 in Volgograd, African representation at the World Cup was ended as Senegal failed to secure the point they needed.
The South Americans will face the runners-up from Group G, which will be either England or Belgium, in Moscow on Tuesday, while Japan await the winners in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.
Senegal thought they had been awarded a 16th-minute penalty after a tackle by Davinson Sanchez on Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, but the decision was correctly overturned by Champions League final referee Milorad Mazic, with VAR showing the Tottenham defender clearly touched the ball with what was a risky challenge.
Colombia’s chances were dealt a blow just after the half-hour mark as James Rodriguez was forced off due to injury – having missed the first game with a calf problem – four years to the day since his stunning volley against Uruguay in the 2014 World Cup.
But with Barcelona defender Mina’s second consecutive goal from Juan Quintero’s corner sending Colombia through as group winners, Senegal missed out having received two yellow cards more than Japan.
JAPAN LOSE BUT QUALIFY:
Japan reached the last 16 of the World Cup by having a better disciplinary record than Senegal – after losing to Poland in their final Group H game.
Akira Nishino’s side finished with the same number of points, goals scored and goals conceded as Senegal, but were shown only four yellow cards to the African side’s six.
Southampton defender Jan Bednarek’s well-taken volley from Rafal Kurzawa’s free-kick won the match for Poland, who had been eliminated before the game.
The match became a farcical spectacle in the final quarter, with both sides happy to play the ball around at the back.
Indeed Japan substitute Makoto Hasebe, who came on with eight minutes remaining, made a ‘card’ gesture to his team-mates to make it clear they were through as it stood.