Reviewing Day 15 of the FIFA World Cup

Colombia and Japan went through, while Senegal was eliminated. This will be the first time that there is no African team in the Round of 16. England and Belgium played for top spot to avoid Colombia.

Colombia recovered well from a shock loss to Japan to claim top spot in the group. Japan also squeaked through thanks to that upset.

Part of our 2018 FIFA World Cup Hub

The last of the Group Stage wrapped up.

Colombia and Belgium were group winners, while Japan and England were group runners-up.

Colombia will face England (Tuesday, July 3), and Belgium will face Japan (Monday, July 2).

Japan became the first team in World Cup history to advance on having fewer yellow cards, and matched their best World Cup performances of reaching the Round of 16 in Korea-Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010.

Senegal’s elimination means that no African team will be in the last 16, which has never happened since 1966, when no African teams attempted to qualify for the World Cup at all.


Colombia knew they needed to win in order to guarantee advancing, while Senegal knew they needed at least a draw to do the same. News of a Polish goal in the other game meant that a draw would have seen both teams through, but Colombia played on for the top spot, and eliminated Senegal.

Johan Mojica was carded but will not be suspended.

  • SEN 0-1 COL (74′ Mina)

JPN v pol

Japan knew that a draw would see them through. They lost to an already eliminated Poland, and advanced anyway thanks to results elsewhere. They advanced having received 2 fewer yellow cards than Senegal, becoming the first country ever to advance on yellow cards.

Japan has now matched their best ever performance of reaching the Round of 16 in 2002 and 2010.

Tomoaki Makino was carded but will not be suspended.

  • JPN 0-1 pol (59′ Bednarek)


Coming in equal on points, goal difference, and goals scored, both teams knew that a draw would see Group G’s top two spots settled on yellow cards. England had one fewer yellow card going into the match. The winners would face Japan rather than Colombia, but would meet either Brazil or Mexico in the quarterfinals. The runners-up would face a more difficult Round of 16 challenge by meeting Colombia, but would be facing either Sweden or Switzerland in the quarterfinal. Overall, the incentive to win was not very strong, both on paper and on the pitch.

Leander Dendoncker and Youri Tielemans were carded, but neither will be suspended.

  • ENG 0-1 BEL (51′ Januzaj)


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Mika Ryu

Law student at Western University, and UofT graduate in economics and linguistics. Remember that your version of the world is always too simple.

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