6 yellow cards to 4 yellow cards. That was the difference between the last 16 and a flight home for Senegal after they crashed out of the World Cup at the hands of Colombia.
The Lions of Teranga lost 1-0 to Colombia today and despite Group H rivals Japan losing 1-0 to Poland, it is the Japanese that will progress to the next round of the competition owing to their superior disciplinary record.
This is how the table finished:
The rules for qualification meant that goal difference is the primary means to deciding who should go through with teams on the same number of points, after that it comes down to goals scored, after that it's head to head records against the teams concerned.
After that it is goal difference in the group games between the teams concerned is used, then the number of goals scored.
After that the fair play record of the teams concerned comes into account and this is where Japan edged Senegal, by a paltry two yellow cards. That is cruel.
Many people watching at home could not get their head around the fact that Japan had gone through on the strength of their disciplinary record:
Well Senegal can't feel bad. They collected two more yellow cards than Japan, and everyone knows that's the purest measure of football performance that should determine outcomes at the biggest tournament in the sport.
— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) June 28, 2018
Japan out on good behaviour pic.twitter.com/A8CAGFZCPT
— Darren Richman (@darrenrichman) June 28, 2018
— The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) June 28, 2018
Senegal's exit was compounded by the final ten minutes of the Japan Poland game which saw the Japanese players play the ball between their defence for the last ten minutes, showing no willingness to get forward. Incredibly cynical, but understandable given that had Japan had conceded a second goal to already eliminated Poland, then it would be them that would finish third, Senegal going through on goal difference in that situation.
Talking about fair play, Senegal got knocked out because of more yellow cards (6) than Japan (4). Yellow card is part of the game.
How about play the ball to waste time? This isnt part of the game. This is not a fair play pic.twitter.com/U7nmOPTRBD
— Alamin_Azahar (@AlaminAzahar94) June 28, 2018
Their antics didn't go down well with the footballing public:
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) June 28, 2018
— Lukas Juskowiak (@Lukazioo) June 28, 2018
Danish commentator said "lets stop commenting, theres nothing to comment on" and they did
— Rasmus Bendtsen (@rsbendtsen) June 28, 2018
— Plakar (@PolyPlakar) June 28, 2018
#JPNPOL Isn't ironic that Japan goes through on fair play rules given those last 10 minutes.
— Wes (@Wes0306) June 28, 2018
It really should be a points penalty for teams like Japan and Poland who refuse to play. Particular from Japan, it's outright cheating. Feel sorry for Senegal bring knocked out in that manner #JPNPOL
— Andrew (@Ahicks1406) June 28, 2018
Japan and Poland with some disgusting time wasting... they literally stopped playing and competing so that Japan can go through and Senegal can go out.... I hope whoever plays japan England or Belgium smashes them ... #JPNPOL pic.twitter.com/YhGVKb1NPc
— Simba Turgut Alp (@DeRozenDntCare) June 28, 2018