Today, perhaps the most controversial moment transpired thus far during the 2018 World Cup. Japan advanced to the round of 16, earning the final knockout spot of Group H. Despite being tied on points with Japan, (scroll below for points table) Senegal was knocked out of the tournament for literally having two more yellow cards than Japan. In my opinion, winning or being eliminated via FIFA fair play points is anything but fair. It is also crazy how Colombia has topped the group when they've looked sub par the entire group stage, but that's football. Senegal was robbed of a penalty kick during the first half, but they also played entirely too conservative, as if they did not even ponder the possibility of Colombia scoring on them. Why on earth would you not attack a vulnerable Colombia team, especially when James Rodriguez was subbed out? Playing for the win surely would have been a safer option, given that one goal would technically give them a 2-0 advantage. (Senegal only needed a tie or goal to advance) With that being said, I predict and hope that the FIFA World Cup financial fair play points rule will adjusted at some point. My suggestion is that the two teams tied for points should meet up for a penalty shootout or golden goal match the day after the group stages are finalized, given that the round of 16 match ups do not start until a one day waiting period. Just as goal line technology was introduced after Frank Lampard's wrongfully disallowed goal vs. Germany in the 2010 world cup, the fair points rule needs to be adjusted.
Of course, some will point out that in regards to the rule, teams are penalized for being too aggressive or simply making poor choices. To counter this argument, some teams simply foul more than others, not because they're dirty, but because it's their aggressive, up-tempo style of play that helps them win. Moreover, the fair play points rule is erroneously dependent on the level of strictness and leniency of the referees each game. Yes, some fouls are based off rash tackles, but some decisions are also based off softer fouls that other refs would typically allow. Vice-versa, some decisions are based off allowance of harder challenges that other refs typically would penalize. In essence, it is quite a shame to see such an entertaining, talented, skilled Senegalese side eliminated in this poor fashion. Japan was equally as deserving as Senegal to advance, therefore why not conduct a penalty shootout or golden goal match before the round of 16 commences? The only issue, of course, is whether or not it would affect travel scheduling. However, all FIFA has to do to resolve this issue is imagine the extra attendance + viewership revenue that they'd earn for producing rare penalty shoot outs or golden goal games.
If you like this post give me a follow on here and twitter @bwashfutbol. Much of this post is copy and pasted (With a few additions/structural critiques) from a twitter thread I did earlier today after the Senegal/Colombia match. With that being said, thanks for reading, I look forward to experimenting with this cool platform more in the near future! Feel free to comment, like, agree, disagree, or whatever.