Colombia are through to the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history thanks in no small part to James Rodriguez, whose inspired performance was lauded by coach Jose Pekerman and Uruguay counterpart Oscar Tabarez.
In the build-up to the tournament Los Cafeteros were hit by an injury to star striker Radamel Falcao, yet the 22-year-old has filled the void left by his Monaco team-mate with aplomb.
Rodriguez continued his exquisite form by netting twice in Saturday’s last-16 tie against Uruguay at the Maracana, where he scored arguably the individual goal of the tournament before netting one of the best team efforts in a 2-0 win.
Those goals lifted Rodriguez to the top of the World Cup scoring charts and set up a mouth-watering clash between Colombia and hosts Brazil in Fortaleza next Friday.
"In my long experience in football, I’ve had in my teams extraordinary footballers, elite players of a very high technical level," Pekerman said when asked about Rodriguez, named man-of-the-match for the third time in four matches.
"I place everything in James because I saw the extraordinary conditions that he had.