A towering header from Yerry Mina was somehow enough to sneak Colombia into the last 16, despite a game in which they were largely outplayed by Senegal. As such, the World Cup knockout stages will enjoy no African team; in the second round, Colombia - and Japan, who qualified with them - will meet either England or Belgium.
Senegal's general play in the first half was terrific - Colombia simply could not compete with their pace, movement and interchanges, unable to get the ball forward never mind create opportunities. And on 17 minutes, Senegal thought they had a penalty, when Davinson Sanchez was adjudged to have fouled Sadio Mane, only for VAR to reveal a brilliant tackle.
Colombia improved their intensity after half-time, but still struggled to create. But as Senegal retreated, they enjoyed more time on the ball in attacking areas, and when, on 74 minutes they won a corner, Mina leapt brilliantly at the near post to guide home what proved to be the winner.
In the immediate aftermath of the goal, Senegal threatened an equaliser, but the final few minutes passed relatively calmly as Colombia passed and timewasted intelligently. Somehow - and without James Rodriguez, who departed in the first half, injured - they have found a way, though on the evidence of this performance, neither England nor Belgium have anything to fear.
Colombia's Radamel Falcao, Davinson Sanchez and Luis Muriel celebrate after team-mate Yerry Mina scores
Image credit: Reuters
Why are we settling football matters according to disciplinary matters? What if the ref made an error, was more fussy than another, in a bad mood that day, or took a personal dislike to someone? Football is sport, not toadying - at least a coin toss is fair.
James se marcha lesionado en el Senegal-Colombia
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Yerry Mina (Colombia) Davinson Sanchez saved his team in the first half, but Mina was solid too, and his fine leap and header delivered a goal that until it arrived had not looked remotely likely.
17’ - PENALTY TO SENEGAL! BUT I'M NOT SO SURE! A lovely move from Senegal, Balde into Mane who bousts into the box ... but Sanchez slides in with a brilliant challenge!
74’ - GOAL! Senegal 0-1 Colombia (Mina) Two in two for the centre-back! Quintero's corner picks him out, he's up hard and high and the near post, and sticks the nut on it like a pubescent doorman! Senegal are going out and Colombia are going through!
79’ - The chances are coming for Senegal! Mane drifts in from the left and lofts one over to Ismaila on the opposite side, eight yards out. He readies his sidefooter, applies it to the ball, and with great precision slices well over the top. Not good.
This is the first time an African side hasn't made the knockout stages of a World Cup since 1982.
Colombia are the only side to reach the knockouts after losing their first game.