CUIABA, Brazil (AP) — Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon became the oldest player to compete at a World Cup when he went on as a late substitute in the 4-1 win over Japan on Tuesday.
Mondragon, 43, entered as an 85th-minute replacement with his team ahead 3-1 to break the record set by Cameroon striker Roger Milla, who was 42 when he played in the 1994 tournament in the United States.
“It’s a great moment, at the end of a long journey, to play at the age of 43 at the World Cup,” Mondragon said. “Thanks to all my colleagues.”
Mondragon jogged onto the pitch to a thunderous ovation from the large pro-Colombian crowd, and left it with the match ball under his arm.
“That’s for my own private museum,” Mondragon said with a smile.
Mondragon, who produced one fine save to keep the score at 4-1, is the only remnant from Colombia’s previous appearance at a World Cup, in 1998 when he was the country’s first-choice goalkeeper.
“Faryd has been a very important player for us,” Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said. “We always knew that our goal was very well protected with him in it.
“So we gave him the chance to play a couple minutes so he can be recorded as the oldest (player) at a World Cup.”
Mondragon even earned some words of praise from FIFA President Sepp Blatter
“Congratulations to Faryd Mondragon for being the oldest player in the history of the World Cup,” Blatter posted on Twitter. “Age is not a limit!”
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