Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez was the breakout star of the 2014 World Cup's group stage, spurring Los Cafeteros through three convincing and stylish wins in Group C. James, who turns 23 years old the day before the tournament's final, scored three goals and assisted two more to put an indelible stamp on all that's taken place in Brazil. While the true hero-making matches were yet to come, he served notice that he should already be spoken of as one of the stars of world soccer.
[Photos: James Rodriguez shines for Colombia]
As if to prove the point even further, James opened up the scoring in Colombia's Round of 16 match against Group D runners-up Uruguay with one of the goals of the World Cup so far. In the 28th minute, midfielder Abel Aguilar headed towards his teammate near the 18-yard box. Although his back was turned to goal, James chested to his left and spun around to unleash a thrilling left-footed strike off the crossbar and into the back of the net. Take a look below:
And here's another angle, because it deserves as many looks as possible:
If this isn't the goal of the tournament, then it's right up there with Netherlands striker Robin van Persie's immaculate flying header vs. Spain and the superb volley by Tim Cahill of Australia vs. the Dutch. It's tempting to say we won't see another goal of this quality for the rest of the tournament, but the way things are going it's probably best to hold out the possibility. At the rate he's going, it may even come from James Rodriguez.
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