James Rodriguez's doubles strike takes Colombia to Fifa ‘14 quarters
POWERED by a spectacular brace from James Rodriguez, Colombia showed the door to two-time champions Uruguay and set up a quarterfinal clash with hosts Brazil, who scraped past a resolute Chile on penalties in the last-16 stage of the FIFA World Cup.
The 22-year-old Rodriguez struck in both halves of the match to not only send Uruguay home but also emerge as the leading goalscorer of the World Cup so far with five in four matches. The Colombians thus booked their maiden quarterfinal berth in the biggest tournament.
Earlier yesterday, Brazil managed sneak into the lasteight, beating Chile 3-2 on penalties after the two teams were locked 1-1 after the regulation and extra time at Belo Horizonte.
The star of the day was, however, Rodriguez who notched up one of the most magnificent goals of the World Cup.
In the 28th minute, he took the ball on his chest just outside the penalty area and spun in a flash before smashing it left-footed over the fingertips of goalkeeper Muslera.
Colombia enjoyed majority of ball possession initially and even though Uruguay, sans banned Luis Suarez, tried to dominate towards the fag end of the first half, the two-time winners could not get past the rival defensive line.
Rodríguez further piled up the agony for Uruguay when he doubled the lead in the 50th minute. Working the ball from the right, Pablo Armero fed Cuadrado, who headed the ball across the face of goal, where Rodriguez smashed it home.
Earlier, Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar saved Mauricio Pinilla and Alexis Sanchez's attempts, while Gonzalo Jara's shot hit the post after the prequarterfinal had been locked at 1-1 after extra time.
For five-time winners Brazil, David Luiz, Marcelo and Neymar were the scorers, while Willian and Hulk missed out in the penalty shootout.
Chile, who were bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since hosting the tournament in 1962, could have won the match in the last minute of extra-time but Pinilla's shot crashed off the crossbar.
Brazil too could have gone ahead in the 55th minute when Hulk had shot home a long ball from the left in the penalty area but English referee Howard Webb disallowed the goal and rather booked Hulk for handball.
At the Maracana, the second round match once again laid bare Uruguay's dependence on striker Luiz Suarez, who was slapped a fourmonth ban for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.
Uruguay looked toothless without Suarez and even though Edinson Cavani tried his best he failed to take the mantle from the Liverpool man.
Looking to wipe out the deficit, Cavani created an opportunity in the 84th minute when he struck a shot that was heading for the bottom corner but goalkeeper David Ospina got into position quickly to tip it around the post.—
Uruguay's goalkeeper Fernando Muslera deflects a ball during the crucial match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil—