FIFA to review fair play tiebreaker but unlikely to change

Thibaut Courtois

The 2014 edition in Brazil saw Algeria and Nigeria in the knockout stage, but no African side has ever progressed further than the quarter-finals.

The game ended in rather odd scenes with both teams happy with the result and content to knock it around their defence.

The failure of five nations to qualify from the group stage triggered instant retrospection.

Senegal's elimination confirmed Africa's worst performance since the 1982 World Cup in Spain, when the continent last failed to get a team past the first round.

And this tournament had begun with such high hopes.

"Colombia is a much better side, much more risky".

"You have to be in contact with other players and it's a shame it worked against us".

Despite boos ringing out, the Japanese and Polish players slowed to walking pace for the last 10 minutes.

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Kozo Tashima, president of the Japan Football Association (JFA), insisted the team deserved a place in the knockout stage in Russian Federation, won at the expense of Senegal by virtue of having picked up fewer yellow cards.

Nigeria's forward Victor Moses (L) and Argentina's midfielder Maximiliano Meza compete for the ball during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Nigeria and Argentina at the Saint Petersburg Stadium. We would have preferred to be eliminated in another way, it's a pity for us but this is how it works. He's a really good player with real confidence about himself. "It's a great challenge for us to be faced against them".

But in a group in which they were with Spain, Portugal and Iran, they lost all three games.

It was a very different end to Group G, where England and Belgium both seemed intent on finishing second, gambling on the runners-up spot delivering a smoother route into the tournament's latter stages.

Meanwhile, England might feel a route to the last four is opening up nicely, thanks to Thursday's defeat against Belgium.

And beyond that could lie Sweden who, it should not be forgotten, have been responsible for knocking out the Netherlands, Italy and Germany from this World Cup.

"FIFA big wigs are always jittery when African teams progress considerably at the World Cup and they decided not to allow them go beyond the first round in Russian Federation 2018". That was Brazil, in 1958.