Desmond Kane

Who needs Luis Suarez when the world’s form forward is alive and kicking

Desmond Kane

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Were you watching Mr Suarez? Can you hear me Mr Suarez? Your boys took one hell of a beating. And quite frankly, who really cares?

What goes around, comes around. There was a certain feeling of Uruguay, resplendent with their ridiculous embittered 'no-one likes us, we don't care' position on the Luis Suarez biting scandal, being on the receiving end of bad karma in Rio de Janeiro.

The Grim Reaper came calling in the form of young James Rodriguez, a classic number 10 in his elusive movements, who thumped one of the goals of this or any World Cup finals into the net from distance in Colombia's graceful 2-0 win over their South American neighbours in the last 16.

Let us face it. No neutral wanted Uruguay to suffer anything other than elimination after the quite nonsensical defence of the Liverpool forward Suarez's unwarranted attack on the Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini prior to this get-together.

And that is what they got.

A lack of contrition or willingness to admit guilt for Suarez's bite on Chiellini led to his four-month worldwide ban from all football activity. If Liverpool are seeking legal redress for being without their leading man at the outset of the Premier League season, they should take issue with the Uruguay FA, whose farcical decision to support Suarez contributed to FIFA's decision to make an example of him.

The Uruguay FA should be made to pay his wages if Liverpool are deprived of him in England and the Champions League. It all came on their watch.

No apologies, no act of contrition - only tasteless denial. Liverpool should take note of Uruguay's shambolic stance in how not to behave. Suarez is not worthy of such public fawning over. Otherwise he will continue to feel like he is the wronged party. Uruguay lost all goodwill through this episode. Not that they care.

So much so, that they made a point of hanging his number nine shirt up in the dressing room for all to see prior to this match. A cheap and classless statement of a figure who let them down. Uruguay did not seek sympathy, but do not merit any. They are all cried out.

It almost reminded you of the time Kenny Dalglish sent his Liverpool squad out with t-shirts in support of Suarez after he racially abused Patrice Evra. Like Dalglish back in 2011, an unrepentant Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez received his comeuppance for placing his ill-advised faith in Suarez.

"As a coach and a professor, and as a former teacher, I am presented with the theory of the scapegoat," said Tabarez. "You know what I am talking about, of giving a punishment, to someone who commits a transgression, not a crime."

A lack of class, but Tabarez was finally forced to confront the truth when it hit him right in the face at the Maracana.

Colombia are a class apart in the way they move. Without the injured Radamel Falcao, they are quickly becoming a credit to this tournament.

Only their dancing after scoring is better than the goals. They are wooing their considerable support with their fluidity and lucidness. It all comes to fruition around the magical feet of Rodriguez, who is apparently called James after his dad's love of James Bond. That might well be nonsense, but it does sound appealing. It might well be pronounced Ham-es like some sort of dish you would enjoy with a Brahma.

The name's Rodriguez, James Rodriguez. Like Bond, he has a licence to thrill. You know his name.

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Seven goals in his last six outings, five in four at the World Cup finals and two assists at the tournament. He is the top marksman in Brazil, and is mightily impressive. The world and all that is in it belongs to Rodriguez, and his ferocious appetite for goals.

With his Monaco companion Falcao injured, Jose Pekerman's side were holding out for a hero. They have him in young James.

Rodriguez, 22, is all that Suarez is not: a team player, reliable, cool and willing to become a World Cup icon for his country.

For all the right reasons.

We suddenly have two viable contenders for goal of the tournament: Aussie Tim Cahill's Marco van Basten-like volley against the Netherlands, and the opening goal against Uruguay from Rodriguez, who has seen his reputation and valuation soar after a fortnight of exhibiting such dramatic skills in Brazil.

Rodriguez chested down the ball with his back to goal, turned quickly and unleashed a fantastic volley that crashed in via the bar on 28 minutes.

The second goal finished off Uruguay if they were not already done for by that stage.

A lovely cross by Pablo Armero discovered the menacing Juan Cuadrado to head into Rodriguez's path. He applied the finishing touch to move and match on 50 minutes.

While Suarez cowardly shirked his responsibilities - not only to his country - but to football lovers around the world by extracting himself voluntarily from the tournament with the weird biting episode, Rodriguez continues to grow in stature.

So much for real heroes. While Rodriguez was contributing heartily to what will be his side's first appearance in a World Cup quarter-final, Suarez was receiving a hero's welcome back in Montevideo. You couldn't make it up. Sadly in football, the people are blinded by loyalty because they want to trust their idols.

On current form, Rodriguez is the best forward in the world. In this mood, he is the most potent attacking threat in the tournament rivalled only by Lionel Messi.

How far can Colombia go? It is up to them.

Bring on Brazil in the last eight at Estádio Castelão in Fortaleza on Friday. Colombia need not fear any team now.

This is already arguably the greatest World Cup finals in history.

Brazil's meeting of minds with Colombia could be one of the all-time great matches. And Colombia are not second favourites facing the hosts.

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