Colombia v Uruguay
With a place in the World Cup quarter-finals at stake, two South American rivals meet at Brazil’s world-famous Maracana stadium in Rio de Janerio.
Currently managed by Jose Pekerman, Colombia (21/20, Coral), opened their 2014 World Cup campaign up in style as goals from Pablo Armero, Teofilo Gutierrez and the sublimely-gifted James Rodriguez (12/5 Anytime, BetVictor) saw Greece defeated 3-0.
After a goalless first half against Ivory Coast, Pekerman’s boys then went on to defeat the Africans 2-1, with the aforementioned James Rodriguez again amongst the scorers.
Colombia’s third game of the tournament saw them defeat Japan 4-1 in an entertaining contest. Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado (9/2 Anytime, Bet365) opened the scoring via a first half penalty, before Porto’s Jackson Martinez (2/1 Anytime, Bet365) added a brace. Of course, James Rodriguez also scored to conclude the rout.
So, after winning all three of their group stage games, Colombia finished atop Group C with nine points. Their top scorer, and probably your best bet if you want an anytime scorer, was James (pronounced ‘Hamez’) Rodriguez.
Goals wise, Colombia scored nine in three games, conceding just twice. Quite honestly, they were more productive than I thought they’d be without Falcao, with every game passing the over 2.5 goals mark.
Best priced at 13/10 with BetVictor, the ever-popular over 2.5 goals might be a bit too risky when Colombia play Uruguay, however, as knock-out rounds, particularly between rivals, tend to be tentative affairs with low goal counts.
Oscar Tabarez’ Uruguay (16/5, Bet365), of course, will have to make do without serial-biter Luis Suarez against Colombia – and even if the Liverpool forward did play, I could envisage Uruguay playing defensively and trying to snare a 1-0 win.
So, I’d say under 2.5 goals at 4/6 with Ladbrokes rather than over this time, but prior to their 1-0 defeat of the Azzurri, Uruguay were involved in two games that contained three goals or more.
Firstly, with Edinson Cavani (11/4 Anytime, Paddy Power) opening the scoring, Uruguay were beaten 3-1 by Costa Rica. Whilst it’s fair to say that Uruguay looked disjointed in this game, I think that Costa Rica were just better than most punters thought.
In game two, Uruguay – with both goals coming from Luis Suarez – defeated an England side that had been backed into an odds-on price by deluded, patriotic punters 2-1.
As mentioned above, Uruguay then defeated Italy 1-0 in a game they had to win to progress. It was unfortunate that this game wasn’t on my writing agenda as I backed their goalscorer, centre-back Diego Godin, to score Anytime at 14/1.
I only had a few quid, but Mr Godin is again worth a small punt at the same 14/1 price with Bet365 as he scores most of his goals from set pieces – indeed nearly all of them are headed in from a corner – and scores in tight, key games, like Atletico Madrid’s final game of the season against Barcelona and their Champions League final with Real Madrid.
Head-to-head, for what it counts, and only looking at their last two meetings, Uruguay defeated Colombia 2-0 in Montevideo, while Colombia beat Uruguay 4-0 in the reverse fixture.
In conclusion, on neutral ground and on current form, Colombia should defeat a Uruguay side without its best attacker, and I’m going to make the obvious choice and recommend them to do so, but I would also suggest a smaller bet on Godin Anytime in a game of this importance.
Recommendation: Colombia (21/20, Coral)
Worth a small punt: Godin Anytime (14/1, Bet 365)