Going into the final day of the World Cup group stages, Japan were in a good position to reach the last-16, sitting atop Group H above Senegal and Colombia - who faced each other. Just one goal for Senegal would have done it, or had Poland beaten Japan 2-0, the African nation would have gone through. Japan and Senegal were tied on all tiebreakers except "fair play points", based on yellow and red cards.
After an even opening at Samara Arena, Colombia's Juan Fernando Quintero first tested Senegal keeper Khadim N'Diaye on 12 mins, drawing a low stop from a free-kick.
After years of struggling to progress to the latter stages, James Rodriguez's tournament-topping six goals steered Colombia to their best ever finish of the quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago.
Japan and Senegal head the group on four points each with Colombia one behind after rebounding with a 3-0 thumping of the now-eliminated Poland in Kazan on Sunday.
Colombia secured their passage to the last 16 of the World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Senegal which simultaneously eliminated the Africans via the fair-play rule.
Colombia is the only team in Russian Federation to lose its opener - 2-1 to Japan - and make it to the round of 16. James Rodriguez, the Bayern Munich star who was a substitute in the team's opener because of a calf injury, set up two goals in that match.
Senegal were the last African nation to be eliminated from Russian Federation 2018 on Thursday, missing out on a place in Group H's top two to Japan due to an inferior fair play record.
Rodriguez, 26, has been with the national team since 2011.
Colombia went on break with a two-goal cushion back then, but Senegal avoided a defeat thanks to two goals within seven minutes after the interval.
Senegal kept trying to get a goal that would have sent it to the next round, but Colombia defended well. They must also must also back and wonder how they failed to beat Japan, despite having created more than twice as many chances as their Asian opponents.
Senegal thought they had been awarded a 16th-minute penalty after a tackle by Davinson Sanchez on Liverpool's Sadio Mane, but the decision was correctly overturned by Champions League final referee Milorad Mazic, with VAR showing the Tottenham defender clearly touched the ball with what was a risky challenge.