Brazil survived by the skin of their teeth against Chile in their last 16 game of the FIFA World Cup 2014, needing all their strength and wherewithal to get past their fellow South American opponents. Waiting for them in the quarterfinals are another vibrant, beautiful-to-watch South American side with a golden boy of their own.
Colombia put on a knockout football masterclass against Uruguay, walking all over them with their wonderful quality, with James Rodriguez making the world sit up and take notice with his fourth and fifth goals in this World Cup – the fourth a jaw-dropping volley which makes you want to push that replay button and watch it over and over and over again.
Without Luis Suarez, Uruguay looked like a pedestrian side, or Colombia made them look like one, dominating from start to finish, with Rodriguez's brilliant brace giving his side an authoritative and Brazil-better-watch-out 2-0 win at the home of football – the Maracana.
Uruguay came into the game with the Suarez issue weighing on their minds, but also with the hopes of reliving their greatest ever triumph at this iconic stadium when they went on to lift the World Cup by beating Brazil at the Maracana in 1950.
However, what transpired was a lesson in productive, attacking, easy-on-the-eye, sprinkled with some individual brilliance football from Colombia, who were just plain too good for their South American counterparts.
It was Colombia in control right from the off, with the possession count heavily in their favour, as Juan Cuadrado wove his magic, leaving the Uruguay defenders a little dazed with his dancing feet. For all the possession and exciting football, though, Colombia, playing with two strikers in Jackson Martinez and Teofilo Gutierrez, did not create too many chances as that blue Uruguay wall stood firm.
However, a moment of absolute class in the 28th minute changed all of that. Colombia midfielder Abel Aguilar headed a harmless looking ball to Rodriguez just outside the Uruguay penalty area. Rodriguez took a touch with his chest to control, and before the ball could drop unleashed a fierce, pure, poetic volley which looked destined to fly over the bar, only for it to suddenly dip, hit the underside of the crossbar and bounce into the back of the net – James' fourth straight game at this World Cup with a goal.
That goal was the cue for some dancing celebrations, and the Colombia party just carried on. Uruguay, try as they might, never could get into the game, with Colombia stifling their opponents with their possession and neat passing, while also holding the aces going forward, knowing that it only takes a flick of the switch to make the Uruguay defenders worry.
An insurance goal was needed just to make their dominance count, and it came five minutes into the second half, courtesy another wonderful, flowing move.
Colombia switched play from their right to the left with a couple of quick passes, allowing Pablo Armero to cross for Cuadrado at the far post. Cuadrado, seeing Rodriguez's position inside the penalty area, headed the ball perfectly for his teammate who made absolutely no mistake with the finish to pull himself clear in the World Cup goalscorers list, ahead of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Thomas Muller.
Uruguay finally found their attacking mojo in the last 20 minutes, as Colombia sat back, with Cristian Rodriguez, Maxi Pereira, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin all coming close. But the goal, not even a consolation one, would just not come, giving Colombia a cleansheet to go with a thoroughly impressive attacking performance, and a mouthwatering quarterfinal with Brazil.