Senegal created a piece of unwanted history on Thursday, becoming the first team ever to be eliminated from the World Cup on the new fair play rule.

Russia 2018 is the first World Cup in which fair play has been active after it was introduced to all FIFA competitions after Brazil four years ago.

With their game against Colombia looking destined for a draw and Poland beating Japan, Senegal was set to qualify for the last 16 as Group H winners.

But Yerry Mina’s late goal gave the South Americans victory and left Senegal and Japan level on points, goal difference and head-to-head.
It meant that, as the full-time whistles blew in Samara and Volgograd, Senegal were eliminated due to having accumulated two more yellow cards than Japan.

Senegal had been the last remaining African side in the competition and the elimination of Aliou Cisse’s side means that there will be no team from the continent in the second round of a World Cup for the first time since 1982.

Group H was won by Colombia, whilst Japan progress despite losing 1-0 to bottom of the table Poland.

Post Match reactions from both coaches.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse: “It’s the law of football. We didn’t qualify because we’ve earned more yellow cards, but I’m proud of my lads, they’ve worked hard for this tournament and I think we’ve showed we can have a bright future.

“The rules have been established by Fifa and we have to respect it, even though we would have liked to have been eliminated another way.

“I think the players knew all about it. I’m not going to ask my players to go on the pitch and try to avoid being issued yellow cards. Football is a contact game.”

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman: “There is no magic formula to football and one single answer to why one team beats another. I think we worked the set piece 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 goal scoring 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 Radamel 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.”

Budweiser Man of the Match

He showed up when it mattered and Yerry Mina was awarded the Man of the Match for his match-winning header that sent Colombia to the knockout stages. It was his second goal of the campaign and he became the third defender at Russia 2018 to score two goals after John Stones and Andreas Granqvist.

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