Colombia Concern Over James Injury

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(WFI) Mission accomplished, but with a heavy cost.

Colombia had to win against Senegal on Thursday to ensure its place in the round of 16 of the Russia World Cup. And it did, but lost James Rodriguez in the process.

The South Americans won 1-0 thanks to a second-half Yerry Mina goal, but had to substitute James early.

The Bayern midfielder had to leave the field at the 31st minute apparently due to a reoccurring problem in his calf.
James was seen from the start of the game with signs of discomfort every time he touched the ball or attempted a sprint.

Colombia’s coaching staff soon realized that James was not fully fit for the game, and from the 6th minute instructed Luis Muriel to start warming up. Less than 30 minutes later, Colombia’s number 10 had to leave the pitch. His injury happened exactly four years to the day since James scored two goals against Uruguay during the Brazil World Cup that propelled him to international stardom. One of those goals was voted the best of the tournament.

After the game, Colombia's coach, Jose Nestor Pekerman, admitted being very concerned about the James injury.

While Colombia awaits news on James' recovery, it also celebrates its newfound hero. Yerry Mina’s 74th-minute header allowed Colombia to top the group on six points, while Senegal was eliminated on a tiebreaker after finishing level on four points with Japan, who lost 1-0 to already-eliminated Poland in the other group game played simultaneously.

Mina has already scored two goals for Colombia in this tournament and has become an instant sensation in his country. The 23-year-old plays for Barcelona after the Catalan giants signed him last January from Brazil’s Palmeiras. The 1.95 meter-tall Colombian defender grew up in a province in his country ravaged by the recent civil war between the government and the leftist guerrillas that lasted for decades until a recent peace agreement was signed.

As a kid, Mina started playing football barefooted and years later, when he was unveiled at Barcelona, he took his shoes off to step onto the Camp Nou field to remind everyone of his humble background.

Thanks to Mina’s goal, Colombia advances to the knock-out stages for the third time in its history out of the six World Cup tournaments the Cafeteros have played in.

In Italy 1990, it was the first time that Colombia qualified to the second round. In the group stage they won 2-0 over the UAE, lost 1-0 to Yugoslavia and drew 1-1 with Germany. However in the round of 16, Colombia was defeated 2-1 by Cameroon with goals by Roger Milla.

After 16 years, Colombia returned to a World Cup by qualifying for Brazil 2014. On that occasion, the Colombians reaching the quarterfinals before they lost 2-1 to the host country.

As for the other contenders in Colombia’s group, Japan and Senegal. they had even goal differences and had scored four goals each, but Japan advanced as runners-up because they only picked up four yellow cards in the group stage, while Senegal had six.

The fair play ranking is being used as a tiebreaker for the first time at a World Cup. Previously, a random drawing would have decided which team would advance.

Senegal’s elimination means it will be the first time since 1982 that there are no African teams in the round of 16 of a World Cup.

Homepage photo: (Federacion Colombiana Futbol)

By INSIDER Javier Monne

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