Russia Wrap: Senegal’s heartbreak, Belgium beat England

The final matches of the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ were played on Friday (AEST) with Senegal missing out on the knockout phase by the cruellest of methods.

Elsewhere, Colombia has been dealt a major injury blow while Belgium topped Group G after a narrow win over England, who were more than happy with the result.

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It means the final two Round of 16 fixtures have been decided with some intriguing match-ups:

Belgium v Japan, Tuesday 3 July 4AM (AEST), Rostov Arena

Colombia v England, Wednesday 4 July 4AM (AEST), Otkrytie Arena

Here’s a wrap of all the overnight action in the FIFA World Cup™.


All eyes were on Kaliningrad as top spot in the group went on the line between Belgium and England.

But with the feeling it would be beneficial to finish in second spot – and get an easier path to the final – it turned out to be a bizarre clash, especially in the first half.

But after Adnun Januzaj scored a spectacular opener early in the second half – which turned out to be the only goal of the game – the match opened up with both sides showing a willingness to try and go for the win.

Januzaj’s goal was superb, tying Danny Rose in knots, cutting inside and whipping a glorious finish out of Jordan Pickford's reach into the far top corner.

Marcus Rashford had a couple of excellent chances to level for England but was denied by a brilliant fingertip save by keeper Thibaut Courtois.

There was only pride to play for in the group's other match, as winless Tunisia and Panama did battle at the Mordovia Arena.

And it was the African’s who left the tournament on a high, coming from behind to win 2-1 for their first win at a FIFA World Cup™ in 40 years.

That didn’t appear likely in the first-half as Panama dominated, getting their reward 12 minutes before the break after Jose Luis Rodriguez's long-range strike was deflected in by Yassine Meriah.

But Tunisia came out a different proposition in the second-half, drawing level on 51 minutes through Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, before skipper Wahbi Khazri – who has been their best in the tournament, got the goal he deserved 15 minutes later.

Belgium players celebrate Adnan Januzaj's goal.
Belgium players celebrate Adnan Januzaj's goal.


In a first for the FIFA World Cup™, Japan advanced in second spot in Group H via the fair play rule after finishing level on points, goal difference and head-to-head with Senegal.

Both Japan and Senegal headed into the final match equal at the top of the standings, with the Samurai Blue just in front due to receiving less yellow cards in the opening two games.

And with both suffering 1-0 defeats in their final matches – to Poland and Colombia respectively – it was Japan who progressed to the knockout stage with group winners Colombia.

Senegal's six yellow cards to Japan's four ultimately cost the African side, who exit Russia in the cruellest of circumstances.

The Africans were on track to advance with 16 minutes left of their match against the South Americans before conceding to an excellent header from Barcelona defender Yerry Mina.

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For Japan, they knew a point would be enough to advance regardless of the other result but they were second-best against already-eliminated Poland.

In the end, they were fortunate to lose by the solitary goal, a fine strike from Jan Bednarek, who slammed home Rafal Kurzawa's free-kick.

As news filtered through that Senegal were also behind, Japan’s match with Poland finished in farcical scenes with the Samurai Blue content to pass the ball along the backline on halfway and avoid the chance of conceding again.

It paid off with Senegal failing to find an equaliser in the frantic closing minutes of their match, handing the Africans an unwanted piece of FIFA World Cup™ history.