RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- James Rodriguez turned in another dazzling performance at the World Cup on Saturday, scoring a pair of goals to lead Colombia to a 2-0 win over Uruguay in the round of 16 at the Maracana.
The result sees Colombia reach the quarterfinals at a World Cup for the first time, where the team will face Brazil on July 4 after the host nation topped Chile in a shootout, 3-2, to advance earlier on Saturday.
Rodriguez has been one of the players of the tournament so far, entering this match with three goals and three assists in three group-stage contests. And he scored a fantastic opening goal in the 28th minute on Saturday to put Colombia in front before adding another five minutes after the interval, allowing him to surge into the lead in the race for the Golden Boot.
Uruguay, meanwhile, lacked any real offensive punch without suspended forward Luis Suarez, whose World Cup came to an end after his much-publicized biting incident involving Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.
The first 25 minutes went pretty much as expected with Uruguay sitting back and looking to frustrate the Colombians.
It was all pretty tight until Rodriguez emerged to score one of the goals of the tournament in the 28th minute when Abel Aguilar's header found him at the top of the penalty area with his back to goal. Rodriguez set himself up by taking the ball off his chest and striking a stunning volley on the turn that clipped the underside of the crossbar and found its way into the net.
Edinson Cavani fired a free kick narrowly over the crossbar before the break as he attempted to bring Uruguay level, but Colombia took firm control of the match in the 50th minute.
Pablo Armero started the move with a cross to the back post for Juan Cuadrado, who nodded it down into the path of Rodriguez for a simple finish with goalkeeper Fernando Muslera out of position.
Uruguay tried to find a way back after that, and Cristian Rodriguez forced a diving save from Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina, who also did well to deny a close-range effort from Maxi Pereira and another shot from Cavani.
Colombia has now won all four of its games at the World Cup by a combined score of 11-2, making Jose Pekerman's group an intriguing opponent for Brazil in the next round.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun