By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Colombia comfortably beat Uruguay 2-0 last night (June 28th) in the last sixteen of the FIFA World Cup at the Maracanã. The win means they have set up a quarter-final meeting with hosts Brazil, this Friday, at 5PM local time at the Arena Castelão in Fortaleza.
Attacking midfielder James Rodriguez was the man-of-the-match, with both goals on an inspired night for the 22-year-old. His goal tally for the tournament now stands at five, one ahead of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller, and he is fast becoming the player of the World Cup.
His opening goal last night, on 27 minutes, was a contender for goal of the competition. An excellent chest control from Maxi Pereira’s poor clearance, before swiveling and catching the ball with a dipping volley that went in off the underside of the crossbar, goalkeeper Fernando Musrela left helpless as his arm flailed in a futile motion to prevent the inevitable.
His performances, not only last night but throughout Colombia’s World Cup campaign, have shown Rodriguez to be one of the leading young lights in football today. and he has netted in every goal of the competition so far. A well worked second goal, which he turned home from close-range four minutes into the second half, confirmed Colombia’s progress and Uruguay’s exit, those ghosts from 1950 perhaps at last exorcised for the traumatized hosts Brazil.
With a two goal cushion Colombia took their foot off the gas. Uruguay without Luís Suarez are a very different proposition, and there was no way back from this. In the second half the Colombians knocked the ball around leisurely as if in a training exercise, the bite gone from their beleaguered opponents. Their passing and sharp movement from flank to flank will certainly cause Brazil problems on Friday.
The cries of “Olé!” could be heard ringing around the terraces of the Maracanã long before the final whistle. Next up Colombia will meet their sternest test of the competition to date when they take on the hosts and five-time world champions.
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