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


Never before has a team been knocked out of the World Cup based on fair play ratings, with Senegal receiving one more yellow card than Japan.

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.

The irony of the situation wasn't lost on many of those watching.

When the fair play rule is used as a tie breaker, the side with less bookings advances to the next round.

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.

Both Japan and Senagal finished on 4 points and shared the same goal difference.

Rodriguez was restricted to a cameo appearance in Colombia's opening game, a 2-1 defeat to Japan, because of a minor calf injury, before starting the win over Poland and again against Senegal.

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M'Baye Niang was the only Senegal player cautioned in a decisive 1-0 defeat to Colombia in Samara, where Barcelona defender Yerry Mina headed the south Americans' victor on 77 minutes.

Poland's Jan Bednarek scored the only goal of the match in the 59th minute.

If England and Belgium were to finish with the same number of fair play points, Federation Internationale de Football Association would draw lots to decide first place in the group.

As news of the goal filtered through to the Volgograd Arena, both teams were content to sit back.

The final spot in the knockout round of the World Cup came down to what is known as "fair play."

Each team begins the tournament with zero points and loses points for each carded foul given by a referee.

But, in failing to progress, Senegal may have ensured Ireland's all-time record of progressing to the knockout stage at each of the three World Cups they have reached, stays in place. Starting at this year's tournament, disciplinary records - known as fair play - were added by Federation Internationale de Football Association as a tiebreaker.