James Rodriguez leads Colombia past Uruguay, 2-0, at World Cup

James Rodriguez leads Colombia past Uruguay, 2-0, at World Cup
Colombia midfielder James Rodriguez, center, smiles after the team's 2-0 win over Uruguay at the World Cup on Saturday. (Eitan Abramovich / AFP/Getty Images)

Don't be fooled by his given name. It reads "James" but is pronounced "HAH-mez."

Also, don't be fooled by his age (22) and dearth of World Cup experience (none before this one).


The baby-faced James Rodriguez brought some serious star power to a match that was missing some in the absence of suspended Uruguayan Luis Suarez. Rodriguez, a midfielder who has mixed splendid playmaking with consistent scoring, tallied twice as Colombia graduated to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 win.


World Cup score: On the cover of the June 29 Sports section, a summary of World Cup results gave the score of a round-of-16 game as Uruguay 2, Colombia 0. Colombia won the game, 2-0. —

Next up: star-laden host Brazil on Friday.

When Abel Aguilar headed the ball forward to him several yards outside the box during the 28th minute, Rodriguez chested it to the ground and booted a howitzer into the net. Not since 1978 has a player introduced himself to the Cup world by scoring in his first four matches.

As individually stunning as Colombia's first goal was, the second was a byproduct of team brilliance. A chain of passes in the 50th minute sent the ball zigzagging from one side to the other and back, then finally to the foot of Rodriguez in the middle of the box. This one was easy for the Cup's breakout player wearing the No. 10 jersey long associated with his nation's wild-haired soccer legend Carlos Valderrama.

With five goals in Brazil, Rodriguez leads a luminous list of top scorers carrying more recognizable names.

Uruguay suffered without Suarez, its disgraced striker. Coach Oscar Tabarez, who approved the hanging of his exiled standout's jersey in the dressing room, spent all three substitutions early in the second half in search of more offense, but only a few attempts by Cristian Rodriguez caused any consternation.

Suarez was sent home for biting an opponent, though not before he submitted a statement to FIFA that was released Saturday. It rivals "the dog ate my homework" for all-time lamest excuse.

All but denying the video-supported findings against him, Suarez explained that he lost his balance, fell onto Giorgio Chiellini, bruised his cheek and hurt his teeth on the Italian.

Toddlers might want to cut-and-paste Suarez's justification for when they next bite someone.