Senegal exit ensures little-known Irish World Cup record stays intact

Prince William World Cup

Japan was one of the bigger surprises of the tournament, as it produced a win over Colombia, a draw against Senegal and a loss to Poland.

Japan advanced as group runner up, with two less yellow cards (four to six) in the tournament.

The Belgium win capped a unusual last day of the group stages in Russian Federation after Colombia earlier qualified top of Group H, with Japan joining them in the knockout phase despite a 1-0 defeat to Poland in Volgograd. However, the South American nation was set to progress as group runners owing to better superior goal difference over Japan.

It is important to note that the fair play conduct rule is applied on the basis of all group matches and not only the fair play conduct during the match between Senegal and Japan in this case.

Both sides - packed with Premier League talent - have sailed through Group G, winning their two games and are now in the curious situation of weighing up whether they even want to top the section.

Basically, FIFA has chose to reward teams that don't collect yellow and red cards. Senegal slips from second to third place and is eliminated from the World Cup due to the third tie-breaker: fair-play points. "This is one of the rules", their coach Aliou Cisse said. We have to respect that.

Senegal were denied a penalty in the first half of their decisive defeat, referee Milorad Mazic initially pointing to the spot when Davinson Sanchez challenged Sadio Mane in the box.

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Mind, the Colombian hordes had little to cheer in the first half as Senegal controlled the pace and flow of the game.

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said he was relieved his team - who reached the quarter-finals in Brazil in 2014 - were going through from a tough group.

"I'm not too happy about this but I forced my players to do what I said".

England lost 1-0 to Belgium on Thursday night to finish second in Group G.

A drab affair between England and Belgium was settled by a moment of class from Adnan Januzaj, with Jordan Pickford's miniature arms failing to keep the ball out.

Rashford had by a distance England's best chance 25 minutes from time, but again slotted wide with just Courtois to beat. Fair play - which was only introduced as a tiebreaker at this year's World Cup - was then used to split the pair, with Japan's four yellow cards beating Senegal's six.

Bednarek beat his marker at the far post in the 59th minute to volley in a swirling free-kick from Rafal Kurzawa.

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