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Mondragon inclusion an act of wisdom rather than sentimentality

He may have become the oldest player to feature in World Cup history but Mondragon's presence, to Colombia at least, is much more than that.


At the grand old age of 43 Faryd Mondragon was allowed to come on as a substitute for David Ospina in Colombia's final group game against Japan.


In the process he became the oldest player to participate at a World Cup meaning he has now figured in no less than six editions of football's greatest competition - including qualifying campaigns.


Now to many outside observers the introduction of Mondragon in Brazil was seen as something strictly of sentimental value.


Why would it not be? After all given his age he was only appearing in the last few minutes where the match had long been decided, nevermind the fact that Tricolor were already through to the next round before a ball had even been kicked at the Arena Pantanal.


That would be a naive viewpoint however and one which would be doing a diservice to Colombia manager Jose Pekerman. 


Despite admitting before the tournament that it would be 'nice' for Mondragon to get some minutes at the World Cup Pekerman's decision to include the veteran is laced with pragmatism rather than with the fancifulness it hints at.


With 56 caps now to his name and years seemingly entrenched in the national team set-up Perkman will know that the former Galatasaray goalkeeper can offer what no on else can in his squad. A wealth of big tournament experience.


Mondragon has no doubt already passed some of this on, in the form of advice, to the young players in the squad, particularly the likes of Jamez Rodriguez, and will continue to do so as Colombia aim to negotiate their upcoming round of 16 tie against Uruguay.


Pekerman's use of Mondragon in terms of an experienced head in amongst the background, especially in the changing room, will seek to give his side some sort of edge as the stakes get higher and higher.


It could well prove the difference between getting knocked out sooner rather than later or reaching the latter stages of the World Cup, especially when you consider star man Radamel Falcao's injury enforced absence.

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