Senegal have been eliminated from the World Cup in one of the harshest ways possible – and BBC commentator Mark Lawrenson is unimpressed.
Aliou Cisse’s team finished with the same number of points, same goal difference and goals scored as their Asian rivals in Group H – the first three deciders of ranking in the pools.
With the two sides having drawn 2-2 in their group fixture, meaning their head-to-head record was also level, it then went to the next deciding parameter – fair play.
Teams are given minus one point for a yellow card, minus three for a sending off for two bookings, and minus four for a straight red.
Neither Senegal nor Japan had a player sent off, but Senegal saw six players booked in their three games compared to Japan’s four – meaning the Japanese go through to the last 16, and Senegal become the first side ever eliminated from the World Cup on fair play.
Many were unhappy – including Mark Lawrenson on the BBC, who suggested goals in qualification would be a better ranking method. He said: ‘Deciding it on bookings is mad. It should be on goals in qualification because that is the most important thing in football. Anyone can get booked. It is actually embarrassing for FIFA, and absolute farce.’
Idrissa Gueye and Salif Sane were carded against Poland, Youssouf Sabaly, Mbaye Niang and Cheikh Ndoye were booked versus Japan, before Niang saw yellow again against the Colombians.
Japan, with 10 minutes to play of their final group game against Poland, appeared to have been made aware of the situation, after Yerry Mina headed Colombia ahead against Senegal.
They kept possession at the back for the remainder of the game and wasted time, despite losing 1-0, as Senegal desperately tried to find a winner.
They could not, and so bow out of the tournament, meaning there is no African nation in the knockouts of a World Cup for the first time in 36 years. (Sportsmail)