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World Cup pre-game: Colombia vs. Uruguay

It’s do or die for both of these teams. Can Uruguay win without Luis Suarez, who was thrown out of the World Cup? They lost their game-opening match with him on the bench. Colombia is coming off a thumping 4-1 victory over Japan. They have momentum.

Groups C and D clash in this knock-out match

James Rodriguez of Colombia celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match against Japan on June 24. Rodriguez will be counted on for more heroics when his Colombian team takes on Uruguay on Saturday. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

Colombia vs. Uruguay

  • 4 p.m. ET, Saturday, June 28 
  • CBC TV, streaming online at cbc.ca/fifaworldcup

What’s at stake

It’s do or die for both of these teams.

Can Uruguay win without Luis Suarez, who was thrown out of the World Cup? They lost their game-opening match with him on the bench. Now that he’s gone for a long time, will that affect their playing?

Colombia is coming off a thumping 4-1 victory over Japan. They have momentum.

Recent history is against Colombia with Uruguay beating them 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier on September 10, 2013. However, almost precisely a year earlier, Colombia thrashed Uruguay 4-0 in a qualifier.

Impact players

Colombia: James Rodriguez. He scored in each of the first three games and is helping his team power through.

Uruguay: Diego Godin. A talented central defender, he dashed Italian dreams with a header goal in the 81st minute.

What to watch for

Colombia have scored first in each of their World Cup games so far. This helps them set the tone and control the match. They’ll want to do the same against Uruguay.

By contrast, Uruguay have taken longer to score with the game-winner against Italy coming at 81 minutes into the match. [Their goal against Costa Rica was an own goal.] They’ll be fighting to gain momentum from the start.

They said it

“Jose Pekerman convinced me to continue playing. I will never forget that. If it wasn’t for him, I would have retired two years ago.” Faryd Mondragon, Colombia’s goalkeeper, speaking to local media, after being put in by manager Jose Pekerman. Mondragon thus became the oldest-ever player at a World Cup, beating the former record of Roger Milla.

"I'm delighted for the triumph, for the goal and for this beautiful time we are going through. We have worked so hard and our feeling is the same as the three million Uruguayans back home." Diego Godin speaking to Uruguayan media. 

The big number

9 — The number of shots on target each of these two teams had in their most recent match. Colombia scored four times in their nine shots against Japan, whereas Uruguay had only one goal in their nine shots against Italy.

Obligatory fun fact

Rodriguez - often compared to Radamel Falcao - won the Portuguese Golden Ball award in 2012. Who’s the only other Colombian to win this award? Falcao. But Rodriguez was also the youngest footballer to win this award. And he’s scoring up a storm in this World Cup.

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