James Rodriguez was the star of the show as Colombia beat Uruguay 2-0 to set up a World Cup quarter-final with Brazil.
The Monaco attacking midfielder scored with an outstanding 22-yard volley after 28 minutes of the round-of-16 clash at the Maracana, and then swept home a second from close range after five minutes of the second half to take charge of the race for the Golden Boot with five goals.
Uruguay, without the banned Luis Suarez, fought hard in an attempt to find a route back into the game after the break but Colombia – and particularly their goalkeeper David Ospina – held firm to book another all South American encounter with hosts Brazil in Fortaleza next Friday night.
Colombia showed seven changes from the side that began the 4-1 win over Japan, as Jose Pekeman brought back his best players. Juan Zuniga did break forward on a lung-busting run early on but his shot was too straight, into the chest of Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera.
Then came Rodriguez’s special moment – and the World Cup is unlikely to see a better goal. Having maneouvred himself into space centrally, he took Abel Aguilar’s header on his chest 22 yards out and then volleyed a shot left-footed over Muslera’s fingertips, with the ball bouncing down in off the bar.
After that, Uruguay began to show more ambition. Edinson Cavani put in a dangerous cross that Carlos Sanchez just cleared, then the Paris Saint-Germain striker struck a fierce free-kick that sailed just over the bar.
The decisive second goal arrived on 50 minutes, and this time it was a tremendous team effort. Teo Gutierrez started the move on the right before play was spread to Pablo Armero on the opposite flank. His deep cross was headed back and down by Juan Cuadrado to the edge of the six-yard box where Rodriguez was lurking to score once more.
It was looking desperate for Uruguay, even more so when Cristian Rodriguez was again denied by the unbeatable Ospina after hitting a low, raking drive from 25 yards.