Japan and Senegal were both at the wrong end of 1-0 results in their final Group H outings at the FIFA World Cup 2018. Japan lost to Poland and Senegal lost to Columbia who eventually topped the group, leaving Japan and Senegal on four points from three outings.
So, what decided which team joins Columbia in the knockouts from Group H? Here’s a look at the FIFA rules and how they came into play on Thursday night.
1. Goal Difference
After teams are tied on points, the first column to look at is the goal difference.
Both Japan and Senegal had a goal difference of 0, having scored four and conceded four goals each.
2. Goals Scored
Both teams had scored four goals in their three matches.
Japan scored two in their 2-1 win over Columbia and two more in the 2-2 tie against Senegal. Apart from the draw, the African side scored in their 2-1 win over Poland.
3. Head to Head
The match between Japan and Senegal on 24 June had ended in a 2-2 draw.
4. When More Than Two Teams Are Tied
In a situation where more than two teams are tied for points, it comes down to the best goal difference from matches between the teams involved. However, this rule didn't come into play on Thursday night.
5. Most Goals in All Matches
The next criteria is the most goals scored in all matches between the teams concerned. Since Japan and Senegal played each other only once, this rule too wasn’t the decider.
6. Yellow and Red Cards
This is the one that came into affect on Thursday night.
According to the rules, a 1-point deduction is made for a yellow card, a 3-point deduction for a red card issued as a result of a second yellow, a 4-point deduction for a straight red, and a 5-point deduction for a straight red issued after a yellow card.
Senegal had picked up six yellow cards in the last two weeks, Japan had just four and thus advanced.
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has used the disciplinary points rule for several years, but FIFA just introduced in 2016. This is the first time it's been used in a World Cup.
7. Drawing of Lots
The only time FIFA has ever drawn lots to break a tie in a World Cup group was at the 1990 edition in Italy, when Ireland and the Netherlands tied for second place in their group.
The Netherlands wound up third, but both teams had already advanced under the 24-team format in place at the time.
(With inputs from AP)