Colombia and Japan qualify for World Cup last 16

Colombia's players attend a training session in Kazan on June 25 ahead of their Russia 2018 World Cup Group H match against Senegal

Heading into the final day of the group stage, three teams - Japan, Colombia, and Senegal - are all still in control of their destinies as they battle for one of the final two spots up for grabs in the knockout round.

Yerry Mina's header secured Colombia a 1-0 win over Senegal in Samara on Thursday (Jun 28) to clinch their safe passage to the last 16 as they finished top of Group H, while Senegal missed out to Japan on a fair play tiebreaker.

Senegal and Japan finished the group with an identical record of points, goal difference and goals scored, with the former knocked out by virtue of having accumulated two more yellow cards.

All eyes will now be on the other group match between Poland and Colombia - defeat for either side will be the end of their tournament in Russian Federation.

Colombia will face the runners-up of Group G, either England or Belgium, who face off later on Thursday and whose ranking will also be decided via fair play should they draw. It means there is no African country in the knockout rounds of the World Cup for the first time in 36 years.

An open start had seen deliveries at either end wasted but Senegal's Khadim Ndiaye was the first goalkeeper worked when Juan Quintero's 13th-minute free-kick needed pushing round the post.

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.

Senegal looked to have earned themselves a penalty when the referee pointed to the spot after Sadio Mane went down under the challenge of Davidson Sanchez.

Mina rose highest in the box to power home his header pass Ndiaye in goal for Senegal.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup lives of Senegal and Colombia are on the line.

After consulting VAR, Mazic judged defender Davinson Sanchez to have won the ball before making any contact with Sadio Mane.

Upon learning of the goal in Volgograd, Colombia adopted a more defensive approach and were content to try to pinch a goal from a set piece, with Radamel Falcao squandering a decent chance on 66 minutes when he headed wide after running across his marker.

Colombia might control the run of play and create more chances, but Senegal will be risky on the counter-attack.

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