The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Thread Jun 29, 2014 13:38:42 GMT
Post by Admin on Jun 29, 2014 13:38:42 GMT
Because the World Cup has become his coming-out party. When striker Radamel Falcao was forced out of the event with a knee injury, people quickly got pessimistic about Columbia’s hopes. Enter Rodriguez, who’s been nothing short of dominant during the group stage. Rodriguez’s global profile isn’t what it would be if heplayed his club soccer in England or Spain, but people—maybe even some opponents—who didn’t know much about him are getting a crash course in his abilities. Equal parts striker and playmaker, Rodriguez potted goals in all three of Columbia’s Group C contests.
Rodriguez is demonstrating an ability to be the focal point of a team. It’s one thing for a young player to contribute, but quite another to take your game to a whole new level when the team’s best scorer is out. That’s what the Colombian is doing now. The fact Rodriguez—who can line up at left wing in addition to midfield—can both tee up and finish plays makes him doubly dangerous, and he’s masterful from set pieces.
At 17 years old, Rodriguez become the youngest foreign player to both compete and score in the Argentinian league while a member of Banfield. Predictably, things only improved from there. Rodriguez moved to Europe and FC Porto, where he played alongside Falcao and bagged 31 goals in 104 appearances over three years. In 2012, he was awarded the Portuguese Golden Ball as the top player in the Primeira Liga. Spotting Rodriguez’s long-term potential, AS Monaco coughed up a 45-million Euro transfer fee to get him in their colours in the spring of 2013 and he rewarded the French side with a league-leading 12 assists this past season.
Rodriguez was a standout at the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, notching three goals in 11 matches. After competing in the 2011 U-20s, he graduated to the national team and was named man of the match in his first appearance, a 2-1 victory over Bolivia. His first goal came in his third game with the senior squad during a 1-0 win over Peru, but his “I’m here” moment occurred three contests later versus Chile. With the Chileans holding a 1-0 advantage, Rodriquez blasted home a 30-yard free kick to square the match, eventually won 3-1 by Columbia. He finished World Cup qualifying with a flurry, notching a goal and three assists during his final four outings.
James Rodríguez scores both goals in a 2-0 win over Uruguay.
Rodriguez’s free-kick goal versus Chile was spectacular, but his status has gone to another level since the World Cup kicked off in Brazil. His signature moment may have actually come in the third game versus Japan, when Columbia asserted its dominance atop Group C. With the contest knotted 1-1 to start the second half, Rodriguez came in off the bench, promptly assisted on two goals by Jackson Martinez, then added one of his own right before the final whistle. At that point, it was impossible to deny his standing as one of the best young players in the world.