43 days to go: Colombia’s golden oldie

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is getting closer – 43 days to go! Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will take a closer look at a different statistic from the history of the tournament each day.

43 years and three days – that was the age of Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon when he came on in the 85th minute of his country’s group match against Japan at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, making him the oldest player ever to appear at the world finals. An unused member of the Cafetera squad at USA 1994 and Colombia’s first-choice keeper at France 1998, Mondragon eclipsed the previous record set by Cameroon’s Roger Milla.

“As soon as we scored the third goal [Colombian coach Jose] Pekerman said to me: ‘Come on! Come on! You’re going on!’” recalled the Colombian, who entered the fray with his side leading 3-1 in a match they would eventually win 4-1. “So I pulled my jersey and gloves on as fast as I could. I was so excited and the adrenaline was pumping.”

While Milla held his record for 20 years, Mondragon could be losing his very shortly; legendary Egypt keeper Essam El Hadary will be 45 years and five months old when the Pharaohs step out at Russia 2018.