Colombia reach last 16 as Senegal suffer yellow-card heartbreak

James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao- Colombia

James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao were in fine form against Poland

Colombia is through to the World Cup round of 16 while Senegal has been eliminated because of a harsh yellow card tiebreaker.

When already-eliminated Poland stunned Japan 1-0 in Volgogrard and Senegal suffered a 1-0 defeat, it left Japan and Senegal with the same points and the same goals difference.

The 26-year-old had come into the tournament having played to the end of Bayern's domestic season. Yet the Asian side ended in second position having picked up four yellow cards to Senegal's six.

Despite being second best for much of the first half, the South Americans got to the interval on level terms and that point was suddenly enough to send them through following Jan Bednarek's goal for Poland against Japan. He beat his marker at the far post and volleyed in a swerving free kick from Rafal Kurzawa.

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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.

The next tiebreaker is points earned in matches between the tied teams.

The South Americans will face the runners-up from Group G, England, in Moscow on Tuesday, while Japan play winners Belgium in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.

Colombia lost James Rodriguez after half an hour but saw defender Yerry Mina step up with a thumping header for the game's only goal. "He can do better, but today he was better than against Poland and he needs to do better against Colombia". Teammate Radamel Falcao patted him on the back as he dolefully headed for the locker room, replaced by Luis Muriel.

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The 6-foot-5 (1.95-metre) Barcelona defender leaped above a pair of Senegalese defenders to head the ball hard off the ground, off Senegal goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye's hand and into the net, sending the enthusiastic Colombian fans at Samara Stadium into a frenzy.

Many of Senegal's players, including Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, would not speak to reporters following the disappointing loss. "And we leave with our head held up high, proud, and ready to give it all whatever comes", Balde said.

Rodriguez did not start Colombia's clash with Japan earlier in the group stage.

Carlos Sanchez returned to Los Cafeteros after sitting a one-match suspension of a red card just three minutes into the opener. Sanchez received criticisms and a death threat, which is being investigated by Colombian authorities.

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"It's the law of football", said Cisse. From the resultant corner, Ospina had to dive on the ball ahead of Mane after Mina's attempted clearance had deflected back towards goal.

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