It’s the morning after England’s penalty shootout victory in the Last 16 round and you have to feel for Colombia.
Los Cafeteros were a glowing sparkle in Russia with their high spirits, commendable team atmosphere and dance would that would turn heads of the professional dancers. Their glorious fighting spirit was insufficient to lead them through against roaring Three Lions who ended up eliminating the South Americans off of the penalty shootout.
Jose Pekerman’s men once again displayed a huge mental strength and refused to crack under pressure in a game they started poorly. Their confidence grew as the game pushed onwards and Colombians rose back up from a poorly executed defence plan thanks to a man who can proudly stand as Colombia’s top performer in Russia.
Barcelona defender Yerry Mina – together with his defensive partner Davinson Sanchez – deserved all the praise in a stifling defeat.
For a team filled with exciting attacking potential, flair and verve, it might come as unusual for a defender to stand out as a top performer. Still, Yerry Mina is so much more than a regular defender.
With a particular knack for goal, the 23-year-old Colombian centre-back has already built a reputation of a goal-scoring defender during his time in Palmeiras. Six goals in 28 league matches during a single season he spent with the Brazilian giants were more than enough to turn plenty of heads for this dancing defender.
Living up to his reputation, the Colombian continued the goalscoring form in Russia as well. Mina bowed out of the World Cup with three goals next to his name, one of which was the brief signal of hope for Colombia in their matchup with England.
3 – Colombia’s Yerry Mina has scored three headed goals at the 2018 World Cup; the most by a player in a single tournament since Miroslav Klose for Germany in 2002 (5). Conquering. #COLENG #COL #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/ALvimn7iCm
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 3, 2018
Having fallen behind to Harry Kane’s penalty early on, Colombia seemed to be heading crashing out early but Mina’s leaping intervention made sure Los Cafeteros were given a fighting chance in the extra time.
In the end, the South Americans suffered a heartbreaking elimination for the second consecutive World Cup appearance, following the unfortunate defeat to Brazil in 2014. Yerry Mina was disappointed after the game, claiming his team did not deserve to lose.
“We did not deserve to lose, we have done more than England and the pity is that we could not decide [the game] before the penalties. It is a blow for the whole group. I thank God because he allowed me to score another important goal for my country, and I really thought that in the extra time we could win.”, Mina said.
On a personal level, however, when the harrowing feeling of disappointment withers away the Colombian defender will be able to look back at his World Cup performance with pride.
91% pass accuracy
5 aerial duels won
1 chance created
The first defender to score three headers at a World Cup tournament. pic.twitter.com/RrJBCxyoJS
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 3, 2018
Coming off from a difficult season at Barcelona where he failed to establish as first choice in defence, Yerri Mina’s stock will have gone through an astronomical rise. Barcelona had not been convinced by the former Palmeiras defender during the 2017/18 season when a decision that he would be allowed to leave the club this summer was reportedly made.
The Catalans will be encouraged to reconsider their stance on a footballer who was the commanding force in his team during the entire World Cup campaign. Yerri Mina’s positioning was nothing short of impressive whereas it was his ability to read the play and interpret the flow of the game that really stood out.
Heading into what could be a decisive summer in regard to his future, Yerry Mina now holds a bargaining chip that could push his price up or help him convince Barcelona officials to give him another chance to impress.
According to the latest reports coming from various media outlets, Premier League giants Liverpool are said to have been impressed with Mina. the Reds are reportedly mulling an offer for the Colombia international with Jurgen Klopp eager to build upon the last season.
Liverpool have already sent a huge message of intent by signing Naby Keita and Fabinho, whereas the new Mo Salah deal only confirmed their intention of fighting for major honours next term.
Liverpool are currently just behind top favourites Manchester City with 5/1 stacked in their favour to lift the Premier League title at the end of the 2018/19 season.
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