After Uruguay’s colossal 1-0 win against Italy, they’ve finished second in the group just under Costa Rica, who managed to secure qualification in the first two games. Uruguay now faces the challenge of this young and aggressive Colombian side that is hungry to go as far they can. Although Colombia is without their main man Radamel Falcao, many players have stepped up and shown that Colombia is a serious competitor and Uruguay will have to be ready for the threats that Colombia poses. Let’s take a look at what Uruguay will need to do to defeat Colombia:
Stop Juan Cuadrado
Cuadrado is just one of Colombia’s attacking players that have been tearing up this World Cup. Ever since his arrival at ACF Fiorentina, Cuadrado has quickly developed into one of the footballing world’s hottest prospects. His play style includes flair, speed, dribbling technique, and great passing ability that makes him one of the biggest threats for Colombia.
Used mainly as a winger, Uruguay’s wing backs will have to be extra cautious when dealing with Cuadrado. Combined with his pace and deceptive footwork, he can easily exploit Uruguay’s defensive weaknesses if they are not careful. Jorge Gimenez and Diego Godin will need to continue displaying high quality performances, because if Cuadrado blazes past the wing backs, the two central defenders will need to be there to pick up the slack.
Utilize Gaston Ramirez
Considering the suspension of the ever controversial Luis Suarez, it might be a good idea to give this man a start. Although inconsistent, he proved in the game against Italy that he has composure to hold down the midfield and find some killer passes. With an attacking midfielder like Ramirez, it can also allow Uruguay to switch to a diamond midfield of a 4-3-1-2. Ramirez would play in the #10 role and players like Alvaro Rios and Nicolas Lodeiro playing in a deeper central midfield role.
The 4-3-1-2 might be a nice counter to Colombia’s 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1, giving Uruguay strength in numbers in the center of the pitch to help them control the game. Either way, Ramirez would be a decent addition into Uruguay’s starting XI, considering he has fresh legs and brings a different dimension to Uruguay’s attack, which could help break down Colombia’s aggressive defense.
Take Advantage of Set Pieces
We’ve seen how deadly Uruguay can be with set pieces, so they will need to take advantage of these opportunities as much as they can. Uruguay boasts some dangerous players like Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin, who are able to dominate offensively inside the 18-yard box and bang home a header. Combine these two players with a well delivered ball and Colombia will have a difficult time keeping the ball out of the net.
Uruguay thrives in chaotic situations, as they are able to use their power and hard work to overcome the opposing team. This is an area that Uruguay is much better at than Colombia, so they will need to use this strength to their advantage and try to get an early goal. An early goal can also be vital in this match as it will determine the tactics for the rest of the game. Perhaps an offensive onslaught by Uruguay followed by a retreat to defense could serve Uruguay well. This is usually a bad idea for most teams, but with the tactical soundness of Tabarez, Uruguay is in good hands. We’ll have to see what approach both teams take, but either way this should be a fantastic game to watch.