Yerry Mina’s header secured Colombia a 1-0 win over Senegal in Samara on Thursday to clinch their safe passage to the last 16 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 fixture. However, with both Japan and Senegal having the same number of points, goal difference and goals scored, it came down to disciplinary record to decide the runners-up. Japan progressed with two fewer yellow cards than the African side.
Following 74 minutes of tense football with few chances, Mina stooped to score the crucial goal from a corner and send the yellow-clad Colombian fans wild in the Samara Arena.
Senegal, who had most of the better play in the first half, thought they had a penalty when Sadio Mane went down in the area on 17 minutes. However, after consultation with the video assistant referee (VAR), Colombian defender Davinson Sanchez was deemed to have touched the ball and the decision was reversed.
Colombia will face the runner-up of Group G, which will be either England or Belgium.