Luis Suarez, even if he won't be anywhere near the Maracana, will be the focus when Colombia face Uruguay in a win-or-go-home round of 16 FIFA World Cup 2014 match.
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The game is set to begin at 5 pm local time (1.30 am IST, 9 pm BST, 4 pm ET), with live telecast on Sony Six and Sony Six HD in India. The match can also be watched via live streaming online in India HERE. Catch the action in Brazil by live streaming HERE, while Chile and rest of South America viewers can do the same HERE. Viewers in the US can catch the action on ESPN and ABC, with the option to live stream the game HERE or HERE. UK viewers can catch the action in BBC and ITV while the matches can also be live streamed HERE or HERE. Catch the game in Australia HERE, while South Africa viewers can do so HERE. Viewers in the Middle East and North Africa can live stream the match HERE.
Suarez's four month ban from all football, including this World Cup, has not gone down too well in several circles, especially Uruguay, with everyone, from the players, coach, football federation and the government expressing their discontent at the decision.
There were also calls for Uruguay boycotting the last 16 encounter against Colombia in protest of Suarez's ban, picked up after FIFA deemed the striker had indeed apparently bitten Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in a controversial Group D match, a match which saw Uruguay come away with a 1-0 victory and with it seal their place in the second round at the expense of the Italians.
However, there will be no boycotts, even if Uruguay will play the game with a deep sense of injustice pervading through them, an injustice which could be heightened if they are knocked out by Colombia.
"We never thought the decision would be what it was and of such an excessive severity," said Oscar Tabarez in a statement at a press conference, with the Uruguay coach then refusing to take any questions from the assembled media.
"It was a decision much more focused on the opinions of the media who at the conclusion of the match, and at the press conference afterwards focused on just one topic. I don't know what their nationality was -- but they all spoke English.
"The scapegoat is a person with rights and in the case of Luis Suarez here is a man has made mistakes and has faults but who has made a significant contribution on the pitch. I am not justifying anything and saying there should be no punishment. I don't, though, agree with the theory of having a scapegoat."
Uruguay might feel Suarez has been made a scapegoat, but they will have to put those feelings aside when they come up against Colombia. The all-South American clash would have certainly been more even had Suarez been there; because, undoubtedly, Uruguay are a completely different team with Suarez in the lineup.
Colombia, will therefore, go into the game as the clear favourites, and that should not worry coach Jose Pekerman too much. His side have been one of the most impressive sides in the tournament, but despite their tremendous results, have gone under the radar a little bit.
Much of the attention has been on Uruguay and Suarez and from a footballing point of view –Chile's brilliant playing style amongst the South American sides, apart from hosts Brazil of course. However, Colombia have been as, if not more, at least equally impressive on the pitch with James Rodriguez, the young rising star, leading from the front.
Radamel Falcao, like Suarez for Uruguay, was Colombia's talisman, and the team were not expected to progress too far without their prolific striker. However, without Falcao, the doors have been opened for the likes of Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado to express themselves freely, and with it bringing a vibrant easy-on-the-eye football.
Colombia cruised into the second round by winning all three of their matches, and if they continue in the same vein, then Uruguay could be staring at an early exit. Pekerman, though, refused to take his opponents lightly, even if they might be sans Suarez.
"Whichever way you look at it, they will always be a difficult rival, whatever the circumstances," Pekerman said.
And the Colombia coach is right – Uruguay, after all, are the reigning Copa America champions and semifinalsts of the 2010 World Cup. With or without Suarez, they are a force to reckon with, and as they showed against Italy, you cannot count them out until the final whistle is blown.
"All the players know each other because the coach has built a very solid group with almost no changes over eight years," Pekerman added. "That gives the players total belief in the way Uruguay play and the coach gets the very most out of all his players."
On paper, it is Colombia's to lose; but then Uruguay just might be that extra bit motivated to win the game and go as far as they can for their banned teammate.
Team news: Colombia: Pekerman made eight changes to his side for the final group game against Japan, and still won 4-1. However, several of their star players, including Rodriguez and Yepes are expected to return to the starting lineup, with Teofilo Gutierrez also tipped to lead the line again, despite Jackson Martinez's brace against Japan. Carlos Bacca is available after recovering from a thigh injury.
Uruguay: Without Suarez, Diego Forlan should come back into the starting lineup. Skipper Diego Lugano is still a big doubt and might miss the game again.
Key men: Colombia: Apart from Rodriguez, Cuadrado will play a major part in helping his team over the line against this tough Uruguay defence.
Uruguay: Diego Godin came to the fore against Italy, scoring the winning goal, and the defender has a penchant for netting important goals. His defending will also be important against this effervescent Colombia attack. The attacking onus will be on striker Edinson Cavani in the absence of their talisman Suarez.
Expected lineups: Colombia: Ospina; Zuniga, Zapata, Yepes, Armero; Aguilar, Sanchez; Cuadrado, Rodriguez, Ibarbo; Gutierrez.
Uruguay: Muslera; Caceres, Gimenez, Godin, Pereira; Gonzalez, Arevalo Rios, Rodriguez; Lodeiro; Forlan, Cavani.
Prediction: 2-1 to Colombia