Separated by the slimmest of margins.

What Happened

Nothing too much. After the craziness of some of the other final group games, Group H’s final day was a slightly underwhelming end to an otherwise tough to split four nations. Colombia triumphed 1-0 over Senegal to claim top spot with six points after a shaky start to their World Cup.

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The already eliminated Poland edged passed Japan also by 1-0 but as both Senegal and the Blue Samurai had identical records it came down to fair play to split the nations with Japan triumphing after picking up fewer bookings.

Stand Out Performers

Yerry Mina found himself on the scoresheet again heading home the crucial winning goal to take his side through to the Round of 16. Combined to good effect at the other end of the field with Davinson Sanchez to claim Colombia’s first clean sheet of the World Cup when it mattered most.

Juan Quintero once again shone for the South Americans not only providing creativity but also a high workrate from midfield to really run the game in the absence of James Rodriguez who was subbed off with an injury after just 30 minutes.

Kalidou Koulibaly proved a rock at the back for Senegal keeping Radamel Falcao quiet all match but wasn’t quite enough to propel his nation to the last 16.

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Talking Points

Although it was forced on them by an injury to Youssouf Sabaly, Senegal brought on substitute Moussa Wagué at Colombia’s corner only for him to watch Mina rise to head home the winning goal right in front of him with his feet rooted to the ground.

Group H really did prove to be one of the tightest at the World Cup with just three points separating Colombia on top and Poland in last. Senegal will feel extremely hard done by after being knocked out for having more yellow cards overall than Japan which is only a slightly better way to split the times than the last option of effectively a flip of a coin.

What it means

Colombia march on into the Round of 16 in top spot in form after two successive wins but suffered a huge blow with an injury to Rodriguez that has Colombia coach Jose Pekerman “extremely concerned”.

Japan scrape through a group which not many expected them to get out of. Their organisation and work ethic as well as good discipline in the end propelled them over the line for just the third time since 1998.

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Needs Work

Colombia must find a way to replace Rodriguez if the injury is to rule him out. Quintero has proven a more than capable replacement but there’s perhaps no one in the squad who can provide what both he and Rodriguez bring when playing together as they did against Poland. Falcao also must improve after another quiet performance against Senegal.

Although they’ve scraped through Group H Japan will have to come up with the performance of their lives if they are to proceed any further in Russia. They have strengths all over the pitch as they have shown but they all must be working at their peak in unison to get past Belgium.

What’s Next

Colombia take on an England side who are without doubt talented, but is unclear just how good they are after sweeping aside weaker opposition but losing most recently to Belgium.

The Red Devils are one of the strongest sides in Russia throughout the group stages and will be a hugely difficult side for Japan to overcome when they meet in the Round of 16.

Goal of the day

Slim pickings with the two goals both coming from set pieces in Group H. Mina’s header probably edges out Poland’s winner from Jan Bednarek because of the importance of the goal to the Colombians. The centre back’s commanding presence in the box has been an asset for Los Cafeteros in Russia, this time losing his marker and powering Quintero’s ball into the ground and the back of the net.

Miss of the day

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It’s been a World Cup to forget for Lewandowski and his miss in the 74th minute pretty summed up his performances in Russia. The ball was whipped in low along the ground from wide by Kamil Grosicki and found the foot of the big striker only for him to blast over from a few yards out.

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Living and studying in Newcastle. Pretty obsessed with football. Newcastle Jets and Chelsea FC fan