Colombia advanced to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday evening. Two strikes by James Rodriguez, the current leading scorer at the World Cup, propelled Colombia to victory against a Uruguay squad who were without Luis Suarez due to the four month and nine international match ban he received for his now infamous biting incident against Italy last week. Colombia will play Brazil in the Quarterfinals on July 4.
Colombia, it should be noted, were also without their top striker, Radamel Falcao, due to a major knee injury before the World Cup, but have responded well without their star with a perfect 3-0-0 record to top Group C. Despite missing Falcao, Colombia leads the World Cup with 11 goals.
Uruguay, who finished second in Group D winning their last two matches after being upset by Costa Rica in their opener, struggled to generate dangerous chances without Suarez until late in the match. Suarez also missed the loss to Costa Rica with an injury.
Colombia took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 28th minute. A poor clearance from Uruguay was won by Abel Aguilar, who headed it forward to James Rodríguez. Rodriguez took the ball down with his chest about 25 yards from goal, then turned and volleyed a powerful shot that Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera managed to just get a touch on as it banged off the crossbar and in. The goal made Rodriguez the first player to score in the first four games of the World Cup since Brazilians Ronaldo and Rivaldo both did in 2002.
Rodriguez doubled the lead and scored his tournament leading fifth goal in the 50th minute. Pablo Armero sent in a cross from the left flank that found Juan Guillermo Cuadrado at the far post. Cuadrado headed the ball back across goal to Rodriguez for simple finish to make it 2-0.
Uruguay’s best chance to cut the deficit came in the 79th minute when Maxi Pereira got the ball on the right wing and sent a ball back to Juan Zuniga. Zuniga chipped a ball back into the box that deflected off a defender and found Pereira, who had made a run towards goal. Pereira, one-on-one with the keeper attempted to volley a shot on frame, but couldn’t get it past an onrushing David Ospina.
Colombia will now face hosts Brazil in the Quarterfinals in Fortaleza on July 4.