Unfortunately, they could not, and now, for the first time since 1982, Africa will not have a representative in the knockout stage of a World Cup.
Yerry Mina scored in a 3-0 drubbing of Poland but here he was the most dramatic of matchwinners, powering a textbook downwards header past Khadim Ndiaye to turn Group H on its head.
On Thursday, as the group phase draws to a close, Senegal only need a draw to advance but victory for Colombia will put them into the next round instead, leaving Senegal eliminated if Japan avoid defeat against Poland in Volgograd at the same time.
The Africans had six yellow cards at the tournament while Japan had four yellow cards.
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In 1982, Hungary beat El Salvador 10-1; in 1974 Yugoslavia beat Congo 9-0 and in 1954, Hungary beat South Korea 9-0 as well. The veteran Honda became the top-scoring Asian player in World Cup history, netting his fourth goal in nine appearances.
After his display in their last match against Poland, Colombian hopes had again been pinned on the shoulders of Rodríguez, who had spearheaded their run to the last quarterfinals four years ago.
Despite James Rodriguez's injury - he left Thursday's game in the 31st minute - Colombia vaulted to the top of Group H with six points.
The South Americans will face the runners-up from Group G, which will be either England or Belgium, in Moscow on Tuesday, while Japan await the winners in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.
Both sides were intermittently impressive against a terrible Poland but Japan did a number on 10-man Colombia to avenge their trouncing in the group stage four years ago.
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These small retailers will be less impacted by an uptick in prices as they will be able to pass that on to the consumer. Previously, companies without a physical presence in a state were exempt from sales tax collection requirements.
But the atmosphere amongst the nearly 42,000 people at Samara Arena picked up near the hour mark when Poland scored to push both teams above Japan in the table. Teammate Radamel Falcao patted him on the back sympathetically as he headed to the sideline.
Carlos Sanchez returned to the Colombia line-up after suspension.
News of Jan Bednarek's goal for Poland gave a lift to fans of both Colombia and Senegal as the tension levels in Samara continued to rise. It referenced the murder of Colombian defender Andres Escobar following an own-goal at the 1994 World Cup.
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Bronx native Cardi B has even weighed on the incident and called out officers for being quick to "harass" residents, but not help. Two suspects reportedly were taken into custody in the Bronx, while three more were tracked down to Paterson, New Jersey.