Monday, Sep 22, 2014

FIFA World Cup: James Rodriguez creates history at Maracana

Uruguay's goalkeeper Fernando Muslera (2nd L) fails to save a goal scored by Colombia's James Rodriguez (R), his second goal, during their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game at the Maracana stadium (Source: Reuters) Uruguay's goalkeeper Fernando Muslera (2nd L) fails to save a goal scored by Colombia's James Rodriguez (R), his second goal, during their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game at the Maracana stadium (Source: Reuters)
Reuters | Rio De Janeiro | Posted: June 29, 2014 11:51 am

A sensational display from James Rodriguez fired Colombia into the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time on Saturday with the attacking midfielder scoring twice in a 2-0 victory over Uruguay including a contender for goal of the tournament.

Rodriguez became the World Cup’s top scorer with five goals and, based on comparative last-16 displays, a buoyant Colombia will fancy their chances against their next opponents Brazil who squeezed past Chile on penalties earlier in the day.

Rodriguez, who looks years younger but turns 23 on July 12, the day before the World Cup final, epitomised everything that was good about their confident performance against Uruguay, who struggled at the Maracana without their banned talismanic striker Luis Suarez.

And while Suarez name might have been on everyone’s lips at the start of the afternoon following his banishment from the tournament for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, Rodriguez was the talking point afterwards.

“Maradona, Messi, Suarez, James Rodriguez, they do things because they have certain gifts that makes them special. It is not up to me to say but I believe from what I have see that he is the best player in the World Cup,” Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said.
His own manager Jose Pekerman was just as complementary.

“At his age, he has no problem taking on responsibilities and doing things that footballers take many years to understand,” he said.

“Footballers need to handle a lot of situations and we are witnessing a footballer, with technique, who has all the things a top-level world player needs.”

Rodriguez tilted the match Colombia’s way by scoring his truly stunning opening goal after 28 minutes and became the tournament’s top scorer after 50 minutes with his fifth goal in four games.

While his first was down to individual brilliance, his second rounded off a beautifully-worked team effort.

Without Suarez, South American champions Uruguay had no way back and although they rallied at the end and forced two important saves from Colombian keeper David Ospina, they were well beaten.

In the end Uruguay, raging against FIFA, conspiracy theories and cursing Suarez’s fate, had no reply to a Colombia side inspired to a great victory.

“It is obvious that Luis is our main reference, the main player we have and that was felt. But that is not the reason we lost,” Uruguay captain Diego Godin said.

“This group is leaving with its head held high. When you give everything, your soul, your heart and you give yourself for the shirt  people are thankful and Uruguayans are always going to be thankful.”

WORLD CUP FOLKLORE

Almost 20 years to the continued…

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