The top 16 teams of the FIFA World Cup will begin the knockout rounds on Saturday, and Uruguay is all set to beat Colombia in Rio de Janeiro. La Celeste will prove why it is the superior South American team as it makes its case for another championship in the jungles of Brazil.
Uruguay is superior to Colombia in rank, past World Cup accomplishments, and talent. Facing a group stage comprised of two top-ten previous champions and a dark horse Costa Rican squad that no one saw coming, Uruguay beat both of the more difficult and experienced teams in Group D to earn advancement.
On the other hand, Colombia’s most difficult opponent in the group stages was a toss-up between Côte d’Ivoire and Japan, neither of which is ranked in the top 20. Group C was so weak that Greece made it through as the runner-up, and the top spots were decided by which team made the least mistakes.
Not only is Uruguay a two-time World Cup winner, but the team won one of its previous championships in Brazil against the host country. “Maracanazo” is now a rally cry for Uruguayans, who were delighted to see their team upset the Brazilian squad on its own turf. The cry will be heard again in Rio after Uruguay beats Colombia and advances past the round of 16 to the 2014 World Cup Quarterfinals.
A certain other Guardian Liberty Voice writer believes that Uruguay cannot win without Luis Suárez because Diego Forlán is supposedly past his prime and Edinson Cavani is “off his game.” That writer clearly has not been watching closely, as Forlán proved he still has the ability to put the ball in the net during Thursday’s match against Italy, and Cavani had several agonizingly close opportunities against the brick wall that is the Costa Rican defense.
Both Italy and Costa Rica have a far superior back line to that of Colombia. The weaknesses in the Colombian defense will show on Saturday when Forlán, Cavani, and Christian Stuani break through and seal the win. With Suárez out, young and eager Palermo striker Abel Hernández will likely see the field and is highly capable of scoring against a feeble defense.
The writer for the Guardian Liberty Voice who thinks Colombia will win ought to check his statistics as well. Colombia was 3-8-2 in World Cup finals matches going into this tournament, having never won more than one game in each group stage. Los Cafeteros did not qualify for the last three tournaments. The easy draw for 2014 must have been a blessing, and Colombia added three more wins, but still has a minus-two goal differential overall.
Uruguay, meanwhile, is 20-18-12 in finals play with 11 more total goals for the side than against, and the team made the semifinals in 2010. Colombia might have stood a chance against the experienced, unyielding back line of La Celeste with a healthy Carlos Bacca, but the La Liga striker will play coming off of an injury, if he plays at all. Jackson Martinez has had some success with scoring in the group stage against weaker teams, but his inexperience against tougher opponents will be his undoing against Uruguay.
Colombia has a respectable team and sits on a 3-0 group stage record for 2014—albeit in arguably the easiest group—but does not have the world stage record Uruguay has. Uruguay’s more experienced and individually talented players will be enough to beat Columbia in the Round of 16 and advance to the 2014 World Cup Quarterfinals.
Commentary by Christina Jones
Read more Guardian Liberty Voice Coverage on the FIFA World Cup Round of 16