Senegal coach, Aliou Cisse, would have preferred another route to elimination rather than the fair play rule.
The West African side lost 1-0 to Colombia on Thursday to exit the World Cup at the group stage after losing out to Japan having received more yellow cards.
Senegal finished in third place in Group H after collecting four points – the exact number of points collected by Japan who finished in second place. They also scored and conceded the same number of goals as Japan.
The number of yellow cards received was now needed to separate the two sides.
Japan picked up four cards – one against Colombia, two against Senegal and one against Poland, while Senegal picked up six, which secured the qualification to the round of 16 to Japan.
They, however, found themselves in the history book by becoming the first-ever team to be eliminated from the World Cup by the fair play rule. This Cisse found rather hash.
“This is football, we haven’t qualified [for the round of 16] because of the fair play rules, but still I’m very proud of my team. Today Senegal haven’t qualified because we don’t deserve it,” he said.
“This is one of the rules, we have to respect it. We would have preferred to be eliminated in another way, but, as I said, it’s a pity for us.”
The referee had overturned his original decision to award a penalty to Senegal after consulting the VAR in the 17th minute. And Cisse had doubts about this decision.
“We could have scored in the first half. We just had to use our chances to score. Besides, we weren’t awarded a penalty, and I would like to get explanations regarding VAR,” he said.
“In general, we controlled the game in the second half. I’m disappointed that my players won’t play in the knockout stage. But they have a good future, I’m sure.”
Colombia will now face England, while Japan will meet Belgium in the round of 16.