Were you watching Mr. Suarez? Uruguay, with their ridiculously embittered ‘no-one likes us , we don’t care’ stance on the Luis Suarez biting scandal, were on the receiving end of bad karma in Rio as the Grim Reaper came calling in the form of young Colombian sensation James Rodriguez.
Almost every neutral wanted Uruguay to be eliminated on Saturday night after their mind-boggling defence of the Liverpool attacker’s bite on Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini. There was a distinct lack of remorse or willingness to admit guilt for Suarez’s actions, that subsequently led to his four-month worldwide ban from all football activity.
If Liverpool are seeking compensation for being without their star striker at the beginning of the Premier League season , they should take it up with the Uruguayan FA who made a shameful decision to support Suarez which contributed to FIFA’s decision to make an example of him. In all honesty, the Uruguayan FA should be made to pay his wages if Liverpool still retain him during the summer and are deprived of his services in English football and the Champions League.
There were no apologies from the Uruguayans , only tasteless denial and Liverpool should not become the victims. Uruguay showed that they do not care and lost almost all goodwill throughout this episode. So much so , they made a point of hanging his number nine shirt up in the dressing room for all to see prior to this match.
This was classless statement of a figure who let his nation down. An unrepentant Uruguayan coach Oscar Tabarez received his comeuppance for placing his ill-advised faith in Suarez as he was finally forced to confront the truth when it struck him square in the face at the Maracana on Saturday.
Uruguay tried to make the match about the man that wasn’t there , but James Rodriguez , who scored the goal of the World Cup so far, was all too present against the team Suarez left behind. Even without the injured Radamel Falcao , Colombia are quickly becoming a credit to this tournament. Only their slick dancing after scoring is better than the goals. They are wooing their masses of supporters with their fluidity and skills.
It all comes to a head around the dazzling feet of James Rodriguez , who is apparently called James after his dad’s love of James Bond. His name might well be pronounced Ham-es , but the full name is Rodriguez , James Rodriguez. Like Bond , has has a licence to thrill. Seven goals in his last six outings , five in four at the biggest stage and two assists at the tournament. He is the current Golden Boot leader in Brazil , and is so impressive.
With his Monaco companion Falcao injured , Jose Pekerman’s side needed a new hero and they now have one in young James. Rodriguez at 22 , claimed the sacred Maracana as his own on Saturday night with a masterclass of a display grabbing two goals , equally brilliant in their own ways. Rodriguez’s first half wonder goal was as good as it gets as he expertly cushioned down Abel Aguilar’s header , then swung his leg like a perfectly-timed pendulum 25 yards out and volleyed the ball over the head of Uruguay’s Fernando Muslera.
His rapturous finish wiped away all the nonsense over Suarez : the hero’s welcome , the face masks and the victim pose. For Rodriguez is all that Suarez is not : a team player , reliable , cool and willing to become a World Cup icon for his country. The second goal finished off Uruguay as a lovely Pablo Armero cross found the lively Juan Cuadrado to head into Rodriguez’s path and he applied the finishing touch to match on 50 minutes.
There is a poise and grace to Rodriguez that explains why Monaco paid £38.5 to buy him from Porto , where he won eight trophies in three years. It also tells you why he wears the famed No. 10 jersey that belonged to Carlos Valderrama. If Barcelona and Real Madrid need another megastar , maybe they should forget Suarez and break the bank to get Rodriguez from Monaco.
While Suarez cowardly shirked his responsibilities – not only to his country – but to football lovers around the world by getting himself banned from the tournament with the weird biting episode , Rodriguez’s star continues to shine brighter. While Suarez was receiving a hero’s welcome back in Montevideo , Rodriguez was leading Los Cafeteros to their first appearance in a World Cup quarter-final. You couldn’t make it up.
Sadly in sport , people are blinded by loyalty because they want to trust their idols. On current form, Rodriguez , is the best attacker in the world and rivaled only by Lionel Messi.
How far can Colombia go? It is up to them. Bring on the mouthwatering last eight clash with Brazil in Fortaleza on Friday , which has the potential to be one of the all-time great matches.
Colombia need not fear anyone now with Rodriguez in their ranks. He has laid a claim at this tournament to walk with Messi and Neymar. He is choosing fame while Suarez prefers infamy.
Tadhg Creedon , Pundit Arena.