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Yerry Mina stands tall, but reckless Carlos Sanchez costs Colombia again

MOSCOW -- Colombia tied a match that appeared to be lost with their rebellious spirit and huge mental strength. They wound up losing their ticket to the quarterfinals in a penalty shootout, but a performance that started out poor ended up being worthy.

It was a bitter farewell from Russia 2018 for Colombia, who were left with the lingering feeling that they had the win within their reach.

Positives

The unyielding mental strength of this team. Their performance was poor, and the defensive plan failed, but they pushed for the tie anyway, with sheer courage, and earned it with Yerry Mina's heroics. Together with teammate Davinson Sanchez, those two delivered Colombia's most outstanding performances.

Negatives

The game plan. So many defenders smothered their creative midfielders and strikers. A mistake changed everything, and their last-minute equaliser ultimately wasn't enough.

Manger rating (1-10; 10 = best)

5 -- Jose Pekerman's plan didn't work out, and the best moments of the team came with replacements Carlos Bacca and Mateus Uribe and the dismantling of the defensive pivot.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David Ospina, 6 -- England dominated possession and settled in Colombia's side of the field, but they didn't get too far, so Ospina didn't have to work too hard. As usual, he played with confidence and had no fault in Harry Kane's successful penalty strike. He also did his part in the shootout, stopping Jordan Henderson.

DF Santiago Arias, 5 -- In all of his previous matches, he was much more committed to defending than attacking, and even more so today. He was attentive and firm and did a good job against Ashley Young.

DF Yerry Mina, 9 -- Impressive, heroic. He became Colombia's savior once again. Mina's World Cup has been legendary for his goals, but also for his excellent performances in defense. He managed to cancel Kane and moved assertively. He is already an idol of the Colombian people.

DF Davinson Sanchez, 7 -- He delivered his best World Cup performance in this match against opponents he knows very well. He won virtually every one-on-one, and his partnership with Mina carried the weight of Colombia's defensive approach. He also was solid in attack here.

DF Johan Mojica, 6 -- He seemed more confident than in previous games, perhaps because this time his team needed him more in defence rather than linking up with the midfielders. Like Arias, he didn't suffer against his opposite Kieran Trippier. He started attacking more after England's goal and was one of the pillars of Colombia's recovery.

MF Carlos Sanchez, 3 -- Pekerman went for an unprecedented double pivot, so he moved toward the right and defended most of the time. He conceded another naive penalty. His performance in this World Cup did not live up to expectations.

Carlos Sanchez conceded his second penalty of the tournament.
Carlos Sanchez's recklessness cost Colombia twice at the World Cup.

MF Wilmar Barrios, 5 -- The best midfielder on the night. His performance has been impeccable, and several times he played along the central defenders to double up on Kane. He remained too low and far in the back, and he couldn't contribute in attack from that position.

MF Jefferson Lerma, 4 -- At times, he seemed overwhelmed and made some dangerous tackles. He didn't provide safety, but he didn't make any serious mistakes, either. He was the first victim of the new game plan since he ended up being replaced after the goal.

MF Juan Fernando Quintero, 5 -- He was lonely and felt James Rodriguez's absence. During the first period, he attempted a couple of times from outside, and that was the best Colombia could show. He wasn't very accurate.

FW Juan Cuadrado, 4 -- Within this system, he was one of the few attacking men. He got the ball on very few occasions, since Colombia first defended their own goal. Whenever he tried to attack, he found himself trapped against the line, and whenever England had the ball, he ran to get it back. He lacked accuracy after a good counter-attack that could have pulled his team level.

FW Radamel Falcao, 5 -- Detached from the team, he could only play when he moved down the field, and whenever he did that, nobody took his place instead. For that reason, he was able to touch the ball only going backward. When Bacca entered, he was seen relieved, and he managed to find some chances. His first World Cup performance has been more than acceptable.

Substitutes

FW Carlos Bacca, 6 -- He was important and provided support for Falcao. Missed his penalty.

MF Mateus Uribe, 6 -- He was able to provide a wave of fresh air. He excelled at the end of the second half and during the extra time. He missed his penalty kick of the crossbar, though.

FW Luis Muriel, 5 -- Brought on to disturb England on the outside, he barely managed to make any noise.

MF Cristian Zapata, NR -- Wasn't on the pitch for long before the extra time period ended.

Damian Didonato is an ESPN.com Argentina editor based in Buenos Aires. He covered the U20 World Cup in Colombia in 2011 and blogs on O Blog 2014. Follow him on Twitter @damiandidonato.

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