IRELAND'S SPECIAL place in the FIFA World Cup history books looks set to stay intact for the foreseeable future following Senegal's exit from the competition.
Senegal were dumped out of the 2018 World Cup after a 1-0 defeat by Colombia saw them finish third in Group H, behind Japan.
The African nation finished with the same goal difference as their Asian rivals but were pipped to second place after accruing more yellow cards than the Blue Samurai over the three group stage fixtures.
It means Senegal's hopes of one day replacing Ireland as the nation with the most appearances at a World Cup while always progressing past the first round are over.
The Lions of Teranga upset the odds to advance to the quarter-finals of their first World Cup back in 2002, qualifying from a group that included Denmark, Uruguay, and holders France.
They looked on course to make it two out of two before play began today, with Senegal second ahead of Colombia going into the final round of group fixtures.
But, in failing to progress, Senegal may have ensured Ireland's all-time record of progressing to the knockout stage at each of the three World Cups they have reached, stays in place.
The Republic are the only team to have achieved that feat.
German fans may have previously argued that they advanced from each of their previous 14 group phases. Die Mannschaft's only first-round elimination came back in the 1938 World Cup when the tournament was played in a straight knock-out round format.
However, even if German fans do disregard that result, their early elimination in Russia means Ireland now holds the undisputed record for most World Cup appearances without going out in the groups.
Senegal's elimination also means Ireland's record will now stay intact for at least a further two World Cups.
Only Ukraine, Slovakia, Wales and Cuba can now overhaul them, having each progressed past the group stage in their only appearances at the tournament.
There's also a chance Ireland could qualify for the next World Cup and end up falling at the first hurdle too.
For now, though, Ireland's little-known World Cup record is safe.