Going into this game, I knew Uruguay would have a tough time winning without Luis Súarez. To be completely honest, I think the Suárez biting incident robbed us all of a good one on one battle with between him and one of the best young players in fútbol today, James Rodríguez. The 22-year old Colombian midfielder, whose name is pronounced HA-MEZ, has been turning a lot of heads so far in this cup, and he scored one of the nastiest goals of the tournament today. Rodríguez actually scored both of Colombia’s goals–bringing his World Cup leading total to five so far and becoming the first player to score in his first four World Cup games since Italy’s Christian Vieri in 1998–as they ousted my Uruguayans with a 2-0 win in Maracanã Stadium.
What else can I really say? Uruguay didn’t play terribly, but it was clear that they missed their superstar up front. La Celeste started with Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlán up front, and scoring chances were few and far between for them. The defense, however, did a great job of holding Colombia at bay for the first 25 minutes. At the 28th minute, James stood outside the top of the box, maybe 25 yards from the goal, when he chested down a cross from his teammate on the left side. Rather than let the ball drop, James simply volleyed the ball on the way down and nailed it over Uruguayan keeper Fernando Muslera and just under the crossbar. It was an absolute cracker, and in the running for goal of the tournament. Absolutely brilliant.
James’ Brilliant First Goal:
In the 50th minute, James struck again, although this one was more of a team goal. Pablo Armero crossed to the right side of the goal, where Juan Cuadrado jumped and headed the ball not at the goal, but back to Rodríguez, who easily converted the shot from about 8 yards out. That pretty much ended the match right there.
James’ Second Goal:
Uruguay certainly didn’t give up, as Coach Óscar Tabárez subbed in his young attackers, Cristhian Stuani, Gastón Ramírez and Abel Hernández, but the chances never truly materialized. Cavani and Maxi Pereira made Colombian keeper David Ospina make a couple of saves, but the team couldn’t overcome the two goal difference. You can listen to a full game review by the guys at Three For A Win by clicking here.
I am not going to hang my head after this loss. Going into the game, I didn’t expect a win, but a true fan never expects to lose. It still hurts, but more because of the Suárez incident than because of anything Uruguay did on the field today. I certainly won’t say that we would have won the game had Suárez played, but that’s something we’ll never know. I am very happy that we were able to make it out of one of the groups of death, and that we knocked out two former world champions in England and Italy. I’m actually also happy for Colombia. The Colombian national team is making its first World Cup appearance in 20 years–since the tragedy that was their 1994 Cup appearance–and today, they won in the round of 16 for the first time ever. They are a lot of fun to watch, and they play the right way too. We’re also seeing the emergence of a new superstar in Rodríguez, and that’s always good for the sport. Colombia could be very dangerous moving forward, as they prepare to play against Brazil in the quarter-finals.
I’ll be following Colombia’s run through the rest of this cup, so expect some blogging about them in the coming days. Thank you Uruguay, it’s been a fun couple of years cheering this team on as they qualified for and played in the World Cup. Here’s hoping to do it all again in preparation for 2018.
Featured image courtesy of: Antonio Lacerda/EPA
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