Colombia vs Uruguay preview: James Rodriguez allowed to shine by Jose Pekerman

A look ahead to the second match of the second round at the Maracana stadium

Uruguay have managed to make it through from the ‘Group of Death’ but lost their best player in the process. Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been banned from any football for four whole months and will not be wearing the Celeste shirt for nine international matches. The punishment occurred after the 27-year-old bit Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder last Tuesday.

LIVE: Follow the latest from Colombia v Uruguay here

Manager Oscar Tabarez now needs to decide whether he will play Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani up front on his own or whether he will include the best player of the 2010 competition, Diego Forlan, next to him. To make matters worse, team captain Diego Lugano could also be out with a knee injury.

Colombia have dominated their way through from Group C by beating everyone in their path without their star striker Radamel Falcao. Manager Jose Pekerman has changed the formation to 4-2-3-1 that allowed young talent such as Monaco attacking midfielder James Rodriguez and Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado to shine.

 

Both of them are set to make the starting line-up and so will team captain Mario Yepes and striker Teofilo Gutierrez who were both rested in Los Cafeteros’ final group stage match against Japan.

KICK-OFF: Saturday, 9pm

PAST THREE MEETINGS…

Uruguay 2 (Cavani, Stuani) Colombia 0, World Cup Qualifier, September 2013

Colombia 4 (Falcao, Gutierrez 2, Zuniga) Uruguay 0, World Cup Qualifiers, September 2012

Uruguay 3 (Suarez, Scotti, Eguren) Colombia 1 (Martinez), World Cup Qualifiers, September 2009

STATS…

The teams have faced off 38 times with Uruguay winning 18 matches and Colombia emerging victorious out of 11 of the exchanges. Colombia’s first ever World Cup match was against Uruguay in 1962 where the Uruguayans were being managed by Diego Forlan’s grandfather, Juan Carlos Corazzo. That was also the last time they faced each other in this competition.

Colombia’s shot conversion equals to 31 per cent, which is the best rate out of any other squad in the group stage. Los Cafeteros have scored nine goals in three matches.

Jose Pekerman’s team is unbeaten in their last 10 matches, where they picked up six wins. Monaco attacking midfielder James Rodriguez has scored in all of his last five internationals.

Uruguay have achieved arguably their greatest feat in the Maracana stadium when they beat Brazil 2-1 in the 1950 World Cup final – that day is remembered as the Maracanazo.

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been banned from nine straight international matches and any other sort of action for four months, which means that the Uruguayan will not be playing again until October. His country have lost both of the last World Cup matches that Suarez missed , which was against the Netherlands in 2010 and Costa Rica in this year’s opener.

Uruguay tend to struggle without Suarez Uruguay tend to struggle without Suarez  

ODDS…

Colombia to win: Evens

Uruguay to win: 16.5

Draw: 5.2

 

TV: Live on ITV at 9pm

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