Senegal became the first team to ever be eliminated from the World Cup on the fair play tiebreaker rule.

By Charlotte Carroll
June 28, 2018

Senegal became the first team to ever be eliminated from the World Cup on the fair play tiebreaker rule after the team lost to Colombia 1–0 on Thursday. 

Because of the way things shaped up in group play, Japan and Senegal were tied in points, goal differential and goals scored, and since they played to a 2-2 draw, the head-to-head tiebreakers were even as well. That resulted in the rarely-used fair play rule to determine which team advanced. With the tiebreaker, Colombia and Japan advanced to the round of 16 with Colombia winning Group H. Despite Japan losing 1–0 to Poland on Thursday, Senegal was eliminated. 

When it came down to the fair play tiebreaker, Senegal had accrued two more yellow cards in the group stage than its Asian counterpart.


The order of tiebreakers goes as follows:

1. Goal difference in all group matches

2. Goals scored in all group matches

If two or more teams are still tied after using these initial tiebreakers, the next round of tiebreakers is used.

3. Greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned.

4. Goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned.

5. Greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned.

6. Greater number of points obtained in the fair play conduct of the teams based on yellow and red cards received in all group matches as follows:

• Yellow card: minus one point
• Indirect red card as the result of a second yellow card: minus three points
• Direct red card: minus four points
• Yellow card and direct red card: minus five points
(Only one of the above deductions shall be applied to a player in a single match)

After the fair play rule, there was only one other way a tiebreaker could have been solved, which would have been the drawing of lots by FIFA Organizing Committee.

So Japan goes through and next plays the winner of Group G on Monday, while Colombia will face the Group G runner-up Tuesday.  

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)