Rio de Janeiro: His name is James Rodriguez, but he pronounces it Hahm-ez, and that was the way the Colombians sang it Saturday night. They have been singing his praises all along, in fact, but in the flurry of goals and teams and story lines in this World Cup, there was a chance a few people had not yet noticed Rodriguez. Everyone knows him now.
Rodiguez scored two more goals - giving him five at this World Cup - in a 2-0 victory over Uruguay that sent Colombia to the quarterfinals for the first time. Things get tougher now, to be sure, with a date against host Brazil on Friday in Fortaleza. But with Rodriguez having scored in each of Colombia's games, and with Brazil struggling past Chile on penalty kicks earlier Saturday, anything seems possible.
Rodriguez scored with his left foot in the first half and with his right in the second, showing the talent that prompted AS Monaco to pay $61 million to acquire him last summer. A boyish-looking midfielder, Rodriguez will turn 22 the day before the World Cup final. If he can guide his team past Brazil, and if Colombia can extend an unbeaten streak that reached 11 games Saturday, he just might be playing in that final.