Colombia took on Uruguay in the second round of 16 game in the 2014 World Cup. Colombia managed a comfortable 2-0 win over their their South American foes. One man was the undoubted star of the show and that man was Monaco star, James Rodriguez. Rodriguez was by far the best player on the pitch and the 22 year old has put in exceptional performances throughout this World Cup.
Colombia look like a serious contender for this World Cup, despite missing star man Radamel Falcao. James Rodriguez is the main man now for Colombia and has been able to replace his Monaco teammate’s production. James has bagged five goals in four games after scoring five goals in his first 22 caps with Colombia.
Rodriguez bagged both of the goals for Colombia. The Monaco man completed 78% of his passes and made two of the teams five total key passes. The 22 year old took only three shots with two on target, but those two were quite effective saying they both went in. The former Porto star also did his defensive work making two tackles and an interception.
After playing in a 4-2-3-1 for the first three games of the tournament, manager José Pékerman changed his system. Colombia changed to a 4-4-2 with both Jackson Martinez and Teo Gutiérrez up top instead of one or the other. This meant that, instead of playing in the hole behind the striker, James Rodriguez started out on the left. The Monaco man was given the freedom to drift inside when he felt it was needed. This freedom meant James was rarely getting chalk on his boots out wide. The 22 year old did his best work when he did drift inside. Both of his goals came after he drifted centrally.
The flashpoint in the game was a moment of pure magic from the Colombian wizard, Just over 25 minutes into the game the score was 0-0. Uruguay’s game plan was to defend and hope to grab a goal off of a counter attack or a set piece since they were missing superstar Luis Suarez.
The Monaco man had drifted from his wide left position to the middle of the pitch. Teammate Abel Aguilar headed the ball to the former Porto man about 25 yards away from goal. That’s when the Colombian wizard performed his magic. He controlled with his chest having the ball sit up perfectly for a volley. Rodriguez decided to hit it and what a great decision that was. The 22 year old playmaker had perfect technique on the volley with enough power and bend to get it on target. Uruguayan goalkeeper, Fernando Muslera, did manage to get a finger or two on the ball, but it was not enough as the ball hit the underside of the crossbar and and went in to put Colombia up 1-0. Uruguay had defended stoutly up until that point but they couldn’t account for the moment of pure magic James Rodriguez provided.
James Rodriguez has turned himself into a household name and a superstar in this World Cup. At the moment, he is the tournament’s leading goalscorer with five goals as well as his two assists. His value is sky-rocketing and clubs will be all over him this summer trying to pry him away from Monaco. Wherever his club future lies, Rodriguez has already had a good summer and it looks like it could get even better with Colombia moving to the final eight.