Mina's strike for Colombia on 74 minutes in the other match sent the group decider to fair play, with both final games ending 1-0.
After falling to Colombia by a score of 1-0, Senegal sat even on points with Japan at four and with the same number of goals as the Samurai Blue. Incredibly cynical, but understandable given that had Japan had conceded a second goal to already eliminated Poland, then it would be them that would finish third, Senegal going through on goal difference in that situation.
The Three Lions will top Group G if they beat Belgium, draw, or do not pick up more disciplinary points than their opponents in Kaliningrad.
That is, everything except for yellow cards.
The team's coach wasn't bitter after the loss, instead claiming his side simply wasn't good enough under the protocols of the tournament.
After the game, Pekerman told reporters he was anxious about the condition of the 26-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Bayern Munich from Real Madrid, while also attempting to play down the situation given Colombia's qualification for the last 16.
The Senegal national team's coach, Aliou Cissé, too, is worthy of adoration.
"We have to respect it".
Japan created most of the chances during the half with Yoshinori Muto central to most of his team's attacking forays.
A goal to Senegal in the other match would have changed the picture completely, but it wasn't to be and Japan limped into the knockout rounds.
After the match, coach Jose Peckerman said he's very anxious about James, who limped off in the first half.
"There was a lot of tension in the air today and, in that regard, I think my team did very well".
Poland was eliminated from the World Cup on Thursday, despite managing its first win of the tournament.
Only two slots in the knockout stage remain up for grabs and both will be decided in the first round of matches that will kick off on Thursday.
It means England face Colombia in the second round and Belgium take on Japan.
A drab affair between England and Belgium was settled by a moment of class from Adnan Januzaj, with Jordan Pickford's miniature arms failing to keep the ball out.
He didn't start the first match and they lost to Japan.
Japanese salarymen dashing to work Friday exchanged high fives with bleary-eyed football fans celebrating after the country reached the last 16 of the World Cup - most blissfully unaware of a backlash against their team.