Hey, Uruguay, don't sleep on Colombia

Colombia's team celebrates Juan Cuadrado's goal against Japan during their 2014 World Cup Group C...

Colombia's team celebrates Juan Cuadrado's goal against Japan during their 2014 World Cup Group C soccer match at the Pantanal arena in Cuiaba June 24, 2014. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:14 PM ET

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- It’s truly unfortunate that Luis Suarez’s act of public mastication has obliterated one of the best stories at the World Cup.

So Colombia can do itself and the tournament a favour Saturday by putting on a strong performance and eliminating Uruguay as they meet in one of the quarterfinals in Rio.

With Uruguay out of the picture, and the Suarez biting of Giorgio Chiellini relegated to the sideline, Colombia can then celebrate what has been a wonderful World Cup for them.

It’s been 24 years since Colombia last appeared in an elimination round. A win Saturday would push them further than they’ve ever made it in soccer’s biggest tournament.

There was a feeling that Colombia, even with the injury to star player Radamel Falcao before the tournament, was going to do well here.

They’ve lived up to that promise.

Colombia scored three goals against Greece in a 3-0 victory and rarely does Greece give up that many. It was a wild 2-1 win over the Ivory Coast and even without their best players Colombia trounced Japan 4-1.

It is never easy for European teams to play in South America, but so far this tournament has been a showcase for the Latin countries and, for many, Colombia has been the best.

This Colombia team is not the tic-tac-toe of Brazil or the speed and pressure of Chile. Los Cafeteros are one of the continent’s blue-collar sides.

Yes they can make the ball dance when they have to but, for the most part, this tournament they have shown an ability to score when the opportunity arises.

They are disciplined, which is one aspect of the game some South American teams forget when it comes to racing up and down the field.

Uruguay is not a gentle team and for Colombia to be successful it will have to get strong play from their midfield. Juan Guillermo Cuadrado and Camilo Zuñiga have done some good things for Colombia.

But James Rodriguez will carry the bulk of the load against Uruguay offensively.

For Uruguay, the question is who will pair with Edinson Cavani up front for Uruguay now that Suarez is gone. Will it be Diego Forlan and Alvaro Gonzalez?

Whatever Uruguay comes up with, the centre of the Colombian defence, with Mario Alberto Yepes and Cristian Zapata, will need to be ready.

Uruguay was less than stellar in their group performance. They were outplayed and embarrassed 3-1 against Costa Rica. Their win against England came thanks to a pair by Suarez.

Uruguay might not even be here if it wasn’t for a questionable straight red card to Claudio Marchisio in the game against Italy. That came early in the second half. Up until then, Uruguay didn’t look as they had a clue how to defeat the Italian defence.

In the end, they did, but were hardly impressive doing it.

However, there is much more that comes into play here than merely matching players and tactics. This game has some questions, which might not come up normally.

Uruguay is a tough tournament team that has had plenty of experience in the World Cup.

Colombia is quite the opposite. How will they react to the pressure of playing in this type of game?

Uruguay has been at the centre of all hell having broken loose after the Suarez incident. How much have they been unsettled?

It’s easy to say that these are professional soccer players who are used to pressure, but this has not been a normal situation. The world has been asking questions of the team and not much of it as been about soccer.

We’ll get a good look Saturday to see if Uruguay actually has anything left.


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