James Rodriguez is the Golden Boot winner for the 2014 World Cup. Thomas Mueller and Lionel Messi both had a chance to pass the Colombian midfielder in the championship game but were unable to equal his total of six goals.
Goal.com noted the accomplishment of the tournament's biggest breakout star:
One of the main concerns for Colombia coming into the World Cup was who would provide the finishing touch with Radamel Falcao out due to injury. Rodriguez stepped up in resounding fashion.
The 23-year-old emerging superstar scored at least one goal in each of his side's five matches. He tallied six goals and two assists before Los Cafeteros were eliminated by host nation Brazil in the quarterfinals.
OptaJoe provided an interesting bit of trivia about his goal total:
Rodriguez had built a nice lead in the Golden Boot race, but getting eliminated left the door open for Mueller and Messi. Both entered the tournament final with a realistic shot of overtaking him, but neither could make it happen.
The fact two of the world's most dangerous attacking stars couldn't surpass the Colombian despite playing two extra matches illustrates his extremely strong play. He put the national team on his back and carried it to the final eight.
After the loss to Brazil, Rodriguez expressed disappointment but also noted he would return home with his head held high, per Rajvir Rai of the Daily Mail:
Men can also cry but I can return to my country happy. A great team has been born. I'm crying because we gave everything we had inside of us.
We have not progressed to the semi-finals. The referee did not always whistle in the right direction and did not penalize many of Brazil's misdemeanors but we go out with our heads held high.
The sport's newest sensation, who currently plays for Monaco at club level, has every reason to feel good about his performance. Few players were able to match his overall impact in Brazil, even though his team didn't reach the ultimate goal.
His goal to open the scoring against Uruguay in the round of 16 is a finish that will live on in World Cup highlight reels forever. And the tournament will be remembered as the moment he became a worldwide phenomenon for the first time.
Of course, the focus is always shifting forward in the world of sports. It won't be long before the talk of 2018 begins to pick up steam.
Colombia is certainly a side on the rise. This year's roster featured a large group of players that should have at least one more cycle in them. That bodes well for the continued growth and development of the national team.
Falcao will be 32 by the next World Cup, which will be held in Russia. Yet, the fact he missed this year's tournament means he will likely work as hard as possible to be fit and in top form. He should be joined by Jackson Martinez and Juan Cuadrado, among others.
However, no player will be more important than Rodriguez, who should be at the height of his powers in 2018. That's bad news for back lines from around the globe.
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