Why Senegal was eliminated from the World Cup thanks to yellow cards

Why Senegal was eliminated from the World Cup thanks to yellow cards

Why Senegal was eliminated from the World Cup thanks to yellow cards

Senegal's elimination confirmed Africa's worst performance since the 1982 World Cup in Spain, when the continent last failed to get a team past the first round.

Senegal enters the last day of group stage play tied with Japan atop Group H, but it's still possible the African nation won't qualify for the Round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation.

Senegal had been one of three teams to never have lost a group-stage match at the World Cup, along with Wales and East Germany, but saw that record ended against Colombia. The next tiebreaker would be points earned in matches between the teams that are tied, but Japan and Senegal played to a 2-2 draw when they met in the group stage, so that was a wash as well.

While the fair play tiebreaker is far from ideal, it's likely better than what would have been the case had Senegal and Japan also been tied on yellow cards - the final remaining tiebreaker that Federation Internationale de Football Association has, in that case, is the drawing of lots.

South America has provided four qualifiers from the group stage, with five-time winners Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay all still in the tournament.

Colombia and Japan will either play England or Belgium, who play later on Thursday.

With Senegal and Japan both on four points and having the same goal difference, for the first time in the World Cup's history, the progressing team would be decided by their disciplinary record. The tiebreaker then went down to 'fair play points, ' with Japan holding the edge with two fewer yellow cards.

Colombia is the only team in Russian Federation to lose its opener - 2-1 to Japan - and make it to the round of 16.

Colombia were struggling to gain a foothold and they were dealt a blow after half an hour. "Despite that we were leading twice and what is annoying were the two goals (conceded)". Teammate Radamel Falcao patted him on the back as he dolefully headed for the locker room, replaced by Luis Muriel.

Colombian players celebrate after Yerry Mina (right) scored with a header in the 74th minute against Senegal.

The Barcelona defender ensured his side's progress with a towering second-half header from Juan Quintero's corner. Poland was already out of contention.

After consulting VAR, Mazic judged defender Davinson Sanchez to have won the ball before making any contact with Sadio Mane.

The victory pushed the Colombians through to the round of 16 for the second straight World Cup. This suited Poland just fine of course, because they were about to secure their first win of the tournament.

Fast forward 4 years, Colombia headed to Russian Federation in order to play their second consecutive world cup in years and this time out, they were not carrying the tag of underdogs. Manager Aliou Cisse leads the laid back charge but aside from the cool demeanour, these lads play some quality, free-flowing football to boot. Each team controlled its destiny and would advance with a win.

Colombia midfielder Abel Aguilar was unavailable after he was injured and taken off the field on a stretcher in the first half against Poland.

Senegal had a free-kick from a good position on 63 minutes, but Mane continued the trend of woeful finishing when he slipped in the run-up and shot well over.

Coach Jose Pekerman would not say when or if Aguilar might return during the tournament, but said the left adductor injury was not as serious as feared.

And it would appear this became clear to the Samurai Blue and Poland after Colombia took the lead, with the two teams happily passing the ball around easily for the final few minutes - much to the annoyance of the attending fans. "We're aware that we will have to give everything to qualify", Ndiaye said.

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