It’s the second all-South American affair of the day, and yet another (with hosts Brazil) awaits this evening’s winner in the quarterfinal. Uruguay, of course, are without
the Mental Dentist I mean the Dental Menace I mean lunatic striker Luis Suarez. Ol’ Ratface has been banned from all football for four months and from Uruguay’s next nine international matches following his attack last week on Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini (Chiellini, for his part, executed a world-class troll on Suarez by claiming to believe the punishment is too harsh).
The rest of Oscar Tabarez’s men march on without Suarez, though not for much longer. Colombia have been the most impressive team of the World Cup so far, bar none.
What’s At Stake
Both sides can take heart from Brazil’s performance earlier today. Chile are an excellent side, but the hosts were still subpar; being out-passed and out-possessed at home is not what Brazil are used to, while twenty-eight fouls gives the lie to the idea that the seleção play beautifully. So winning today gives either side a fighting chance in the next round.
Uruguay are in search of their third World Cup (Uruguay 1930 and Brazil 1950). They’re the fifth oldest side in the tournament, and might not have another good shot any time soon. For Colombia, it’s all about the future. They’ve never progressed beyond the round of 16, having lost at this stage to Cameroon in Italy in 1990.
Colombia play simple 4-2-3-1, with James Rodriguez creating from the center of the “3.” He’s a classic number ten: excellent positioning, wonderful vision, great touch, and scoring ability to boot.
Despite Suarez’s absence, Uruguay won’t revert to the 4-4-2 they used in the first game, before he was available. They’ll stick with the 3-5-2 they played against Italy. Edinson Cavani will try to hold up possession and feed aging legend Diego Forlán, while the midfield’s brief will be to shut down James.
As Zonal Marking points out, three-man defenses were an undefeated 8-0-2 against four-man defenses before the Chile vs. Brazil match; that’s now 8-0-3. I expect Uruguay to drag it down further to 8-1-3 today.
Players to Watch
Colombia: James Rodriguez, the young playmaker (pictured above). He can do everything. He’s been the brains behind the Colombian attack and he’s proved he can score beautiful goals, including this beauty against Japan. He’s sorta dreamy, too, and he can dance.
Uruguay: Arevalo Rios. He’ll be busy breaking up Colombia’s attacks in the center of the pitch. Watch for him man-marking James.
Jon Champion band Stewart Robson, an all-English crew.
Match-specific Drinking Games
Missing star: Have a sip whenever Luis Suarez is mentioned by the broadcast team. Take a shot if his image appears onscreen. How drunk? He’s not allowed in the stadium. Doesn’t matter. You’ll die.
Testy: Take a shot every time a yellow card is awarded. There’s no love lost between these teams, and Uruguay will probably resort to fouling to slow down Colombia’s fluid attacking. How drunk? Bollocksed.
Pinned: Take a sip whenever all eleven Uruguayans are stuck inside their own half. How drunk? Steady buzz. Colombia should be on top of this one.
– Read my general World Cup watching guide.
– Check out Zonal Marking, my favorite tactics website.
– See a commentary schedule or a review of each commentator.
– See where I’m getting my national drink recommendations.
– Check out other match previews involving these teams: Italy vs. Uruguay, Uruguay vs. England, Colombia vs. Ivory Coast, Uruguay vs. Costa Rica, Colombia vs. Greece
Picture credit: arbiternews.com