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16th of July 2018

Sport



Colombian fans take heart-breaking loss to England in their stride

The Andean nation's capital, Bogota, came to a standstill as people tuned in to watch the 'Cafeteros', with electrifying roars and loud gasps surging throughout the city each time either team came close to scoring.

Giant screens showed the match in many cities around the nation of nearly 50 million people and in downtown Bogota, where suited lawyers, policemen and street vendors cheered and then commiserated in front of a screen set amid the gray concrete streets, as office workers watched from the windows above.

A Colombian fan shows his disappointment.

A Colombian fan shows his disappointment.

Photo: AP

"It was a good game - sad that we couldn't get through, but I'm proud of the team's effort," said 47-year-old shoe shiner Mauricio Sanchez, who spent much of the game standing atop his box of supplies, the better to see the screen.

Colombia's stand-out player from the tournament will be Mina, whose headers earned him the nickname "Mina de Oro" or gold mine, after they carried Colombia to victories against Senegal and Poland in the group stage.

Mina's performance earned accolades from spectators despite the team's loss, while midfielder Mateus Uribe, who fluffed the first of Colombia's two missed penalties, earned sympathy.

"The best player was Mina," said lawyer Adriana Palma, 33. "I'm really sad for Uribe."

At a screening in an English-themed bar in northern Bogota, British expatriates and tourists celebrated England's victory.

"It was a good match, but (I'm) always disappointed when the game goes to penalties - it doesn't show the true potential of the team," said Emma Kinsey, 32, a yoga instructor from Lincoln who lives in Bogota.

Last week's game against Senegal saw Colombia's key forward James Rodriguez forced off due to a swelling in his right calf. He had to miss Tuesday's match, watching from the sidelines.

Colombia have lost to England at the World Cup before. At France '98 the teams met in a group match and England won 2-0, thanks to goals by Darren Anderton and David Beckham, to advance to the last 16 where they lost to Argentina - on penalties.

Reuters

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