Yerry Mina’s header got Colombia a 1-0 victory over Senegal in Samara on Thursday to clinch their safe passage to the knockout stage as they finished top of Group H, while Senegal missed out to Japan on a fair play tiebreaker.
Japan lost 1-0 to already-eliminated Poland in the group’s other match. However, with both Japan and African side having the same number of points, goal difference and goals scored, it came down to disciplinary record to choose the runners-up. Japan progressed with two fewer yellow cards than Senegal.
Following 74 minutes of tense soccer with few chances, Mina stooped to score the decisive goal from a corner and send the yellow-clad Colombian fans wild in the Samara Arena.
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Senegal, who had most of the better play in the first half, thought they had a penalty when Sadio Mane fell down in the area on 17 minutes. But, after consultation with the VAR, Colombian defender Davinson Sanchez was deemed to have touched the ball and the decision was upturned.
Colombia will now play the runner-up of Group G, which is either England or Belgium.