Brazil need to be wary of Colombia in quarter-finals
Led by top scorer Rodriguez, Colombia tear apart Suarez-less Uruguay and are ready to gatecrash Selecao's party
ROUND OF 16
(James Rodriguez 28, 50)
Brazil got lucky against Chile. They may not be so fortuitous against the Colombians.
Their South American showdown in the quarter-finals offers only home advantage for the Selecao.
The balance of power is slanted in favour of Jose Pekerman's artists.
Colombia brushed aside Uruguay with an air of indifference that delighted those present here in the Maracana, but concerned those watching on sofas across the country.
The romantic script pits Brazil against Argentina in the final, but the charming, cheeky South Americans are not learning the right lines.
They're too busy learning those handed by them by Pekerman and playing out a different storyline.
With James Rodriguez playing lead, Colombia are winning just as many hearts as they are matches.
Locals remain immune to their charms out of a begrudging respect. They can't favour them because they fear them.
Based on this assured, mature, measured performance against Uruguay, the Colombians will head into the last eight with the favourites' tag hanging proudly around their necks.
Uruguay were left mortally wounded by their suspended striker, but Colombia gleefully ripped apart what was left, leaving only the remains of a once-respected side.
When Luis Suarez tore into the flesh of another opponent, he ripped the guts out of Uruguay.
The shamed, suspended striker killed off his country twice; the first time in the court of public opinion and the second where it really matters, inside the Maracana.
His spectre haunted his South American teammates. They were hounded in the stands and harried on the pitch. They were lost without him.
After the Maracana last witnessed the sterile stalemate between Ecuador and France, this encounter offered a narrative befitting the venue, thanks to Colombia.
A beauty defeated the beasts. A goal worthy of winning any game conspired to bring down the tournament's biggest losers.
Rodriguez's sublime volley silenced the volley of abuse, accusations and foul ranting that contaminated Uruguay's World Cup.
The Fifa Disciplinary Committee had done its bit with Suarez, but football often delivers the sweetest justice of all.
Colombia's 2-0 win represented so much more than just a victory for Pekermen's men.
Before kick-off, Uruguayans unfurled a banner that read: "What about Blatter's bite?"
The crude artwork included a headshot of the Fifa president, mouth open and stuffed with cash.
Not for the first time in recent days, the South Americans missed the point.
Uruguayans struggle with apologies. Regrets are best left to old ballads. They do things their way. Sorry really seems to be the hardest word.
As the game progressed, the pattern of play made it increasingly obvious that Uruguay's jaundiced loyalty had been misplaced.
Once Suarez had bitten Giorgio Chiellini, Uruguay were twice shy.
Oscar Tabarez called up Diego Forlan as a replacement and he remains a devoted servant, but one in steady decline.
Edinson Cavani was left the loneliest man in the Maracana.
Tabarez's line-up proved to be as stubborn as his excruciating defence of his unrepentant absentee.
His 4-4-1-1 not only isolated Cavani but also encouraged the Colombians to defend higher, laying out the welcome mat for the fullbacks, particularly Pablo Armero, to roam at their leisure.
As the Colombians pressed, space opened up, enough for Rodriguez to submit his contender for goal of the tournament.
His 28th-minute volley will be remembered long after the Uruguayans' lack of contrition and loss of collective dignity.
Rodriguez's second in the 50th minute just about put paid to any notion of a Uruguay comeback, despite their having the majority of possession in the second half.
David Ospina was the busier goalkeeper, making a couple of smart saves to preserve the psychological critical clean sheet as the desperate Uruguayans sought to find a crack in the Colombians' armour.
But the Colombians held on and now they move on to Brazil. They're no longer playing gatecrashers. They are contenders.
As they left the stadium, some Uruguayan supporters climbed the glass partition and fought with some Colombians. Supporters and stadium stewards were both punched in the scuffles.
The petty violence was extreme, unprovoked and unnecessary; rather like Uruguay in the last week.
Like Suarez, they will not be missed.
But the Brazilians are hardly ecstatic that the Colombians are still here.
After this convincing victory, they don't plan on leaving any time soon either.
Uruguay are a very difficult team with a great coach. We knew it would be difficult but all our work has paid off.
- Colombia coach Jose Pekerman