Colombia put together an excellent performance to see off the challenge from Uruguay on Saturday, winning 2-0 to advance to the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals.
James Rodriguez, the tournament's biggest revelation, scored both of the goals for the Colombians, becoming the World Cup's top scorer in the process.
Uruguay were able to hold firm against an early onslaught from their opponents, putting enough players behind the ball to limit space around the box. Prodding for an opening, Rodriguez produced a sensational piece of skill to open the scoring.
As shared by The Football Report, it was truly sensational:
The forward doubled his tally with a beautiful team goal early in the second half, scoring from close range after a great shoulder-pass from Juan Cuadrado, via Football Facts 101:
The New York Times' Andrew Das was one of many in awe of the 23-year-old:
Porto bought James Rodriguez for $10M in 2010. Flipped him to Monaco for $61M last summer. That's looking like a steal right now.— Andrew Das (@AndrewDasNYT) June 28, 2014
Basketball star Lebron James took time off his schedule as a free agent to watch some World Cup action, and he was thoroughly impressed by what he saw:
So was former Miami Heat teammate Chris Bosh:
The BBC's Phil McNulty was still in shock when the official blew the whistle for half-time:
Colombia 1 Uruguay 0 at half-time. We've witnessed something truly special with the goal from James Rodriguez.— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) June 28, 2014
Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl has enoyed Costa Rica's Cinderella run so far, but he thinks Rodriguez and the emergence of Colombia are just as big a story:
If Costa Rica is the best story of World Cup, Colombia and James Rodríguez aren't far behind. Global superstar emerging here.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 28, 2014
Squawka confirmed Rodriguez's second goal made him the tournament's leading scorer:
They also shared his chance conversion rate, which is beyond impressive:
Bleacher Report's Michael Cummings was impressed by Rodriguez, but the team's incredible interplay for the second goal impressed him even more:
Another goal for James, but what an amazing team move by Colombia. Brazil should be worried.— Michael Cummings (@MikeCummings37) June 28, 2014
Cuadrado provided the assist for that goal, capping off a fine performance. The Fiorentina winger was a real handful for the Uruguayan defence, using his trickery and pure pace to devastating effects.
Via 8 Fact Football, he's been, perhaps, just as impressive as his much-lauded teammate:
OptaJohan knew Cuadrado already made history on Saturday, despite only playing in four matches:
4 - Juan Guillermo Cuadrado is the first player to reach 4 assists in 1 World Cup since Totti and Riquelme (both 4) in 2006 . Served.— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 28, 2014
The Liverpool Echo's Jay Riley confirmed Bayern Munich are interested in the services of the winger, who has done nothing in Brazil to suggest he wouldn't be able to keep up with the Bavarians' high level of play:
Fiorentina's Juan Cuadrado #COL has looked very good at this tournament & there's strong interest in him from Bayern Munich— Jay Riley (@Jay_78_) June 28, 2014
Bleacher Report's Matteo Bonetti thinks the high-energy style of play of Cuadrado is only fitting, given the team he plays for:
Cafeteros such a fitting nickname for #COL when you have Juan Cuadrado as the human representation of caffeine— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) June 28, 2014
Graham Ruthven couldn't hide his admiration for Rodriguez, but he wanted to make sure people didn't forget about the phenomenal tournament Cuadrado is having:
James Rodriguez has been the star man for Colombia at this World Cup, but Juan Cuadrado has also been excellent.— Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven) June 28, 2014
Colombia will play hosts Brazil in the quarter-finals, in what will undoubtedly be their biggest test yet.
The Brazilians have yet to play their best football in this tournament, and offensively, the unit has appeared disjointed at times. Neymar has scored four goals already, but his fellow attackers have been far less proficient in front of goal.
Defensively, the team has been near perfect, and it'll be interesting to see what this young Colombian team can do against Brazil's world-class back four.
This fixture will be the one match people all over the world will be looking forward to the most when the quarter-finals get started, and if Rodriguez and Cuadrado keep playing at this level, the hosts could be in some serious trouble.