Colombia v Uruguay: Key Battles – How will Arsenal target fare?

James Rodriguez playing for Columbia

Ahead of Colombia’s clash against Uruguay in the last 16 of the World Cup, here are three key battles to look out for.

James Rodriguez v Martin Caceres

James Rodriguez has been in outstanding form for Colombia so far at the 2014 World Cup. His substitute appearance against Japan on Tuesday during their 4-1 victory was sensational.

Coming on at half time, the attacking midfielder assisted Jackson Martinez twice with two outstanding passes before himself scoring in the final minutes with a cheeky chip over the goalkeeper with his left foot.

That goal means that he has scored in each of his last five appearances for his country, including the three matches so far in Brazil. The 22-year-old is Colombia’s main attacking threat, and with the form he is currently in, it will be hard for Uruguay to contain him.

The man likely to be tasked with doing just that for Uruguay is Martin Caceres. The former Barcelona defender, who now features for Italian champions Juventus, plays left-back for the South American side in a flat back-four. That is strange, though, as his preferred right foot means he has to cut in as a full-back, meaning he isn’t providing much width.

This will be ideal, though, when facing Rodriguez, as he is left-footed who normally plays on the right and likes to cut inside. With Rodriguez doing that, he will be coming into Caceres' favoured side also, one that should make it difficult to beat.

Jackson Martinez v Diego Godin

Both Jackson Martinez and Diego Godin have had outstanding last 12 months for their respective clubs. Martinez scored 29 goals for Porto and has thus been linked with top European clubs including Arsenal and Chelsea. Godin scored the equaliser on the last day of the La Liga campaign to help Atletico Madrid to the title, while also netting in the Champions League final.

Godin continued his good goalscoring form when he scored the winner against Italy on Tuesday, a goal that ensured they qualified for the last 16. However, defensively he has looked vulnerable at times, especially in their 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica that shocked everyone.

On the other hand, Martinez, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal this summer, has struggled to be as efficient for Colombia as he has been for Porto, especially as Radamel Falcao is the star striker for the national team. His two goals against Japan will no doubt give him a lot of confidence to cause Godin and Uruguay plenty of problems on Saturday.

Mario Yepes v Edinson Cavani

Mario Yepes continues to shock everyone with his brilliant performances in the World Cup. The 38 year-old has been vital in the Colombia defence, and despite his lack of pace, he has organised and led his backline to conceding just two goals in three matches so far. However, he has been protected brilliantly by the rest of his defence and midfielders, who have ensured that he hasn’t been exposed one-on-one so far.

Uruguay will no doubt feel confident in doing so. Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani has struggled so far at the World Cup, scoring only one goal in his three appearances to date in this tournament - and that was a penalty. If Cavani can isolate Yepes one-on-one, then he will fancy his chances of getting the better of the defender.

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