Instead of a matchup between two of the world’s top strikers, the round of 16 game between Colombia and Uruguay at the World Cup will be a test of which team copes best without its talisman.
Suarez was banned by FIFA on Thursday from all football for four months for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy in their last group game, a result that sent his team through to the knockout rounds.
Uruguay struggled badly without him in their opening loss to Costa Rica, when the Liverpool striker remained on the bench as he recovered from knee surgery. Edinson Cavani scored Uruguay’s goal in the 3-1 loss to Costa Rica, but has been quiet in the subsequent two games.
Suarez returned to score both goals against England in a 2-1 win, showing just how important he is to the team.
Colombia have already proven they can cope without Falcao and were one of the most impressive teams in the group stages with three wins and nine goals.
In Falcao’s absence, Monaco playmaker James Rodriguez has stepped up to become the team’s focal point, scoring three goals and setting up two more in the group stage.
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Venue: Estádio Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
Kick-off: June 28, 1600GMT
Key stats: Uruguay reached the semi-finals at the 2010 World Cup, while Colombia hadn’t even qualified for the tournament since 1998.
Colombia’s shot conversion equals to 31 per cent, which is the best rate out of any other squad in the group stage. Los Cafeteros have scored nine goals in three matches.
Uruguay have achieved arguably their greatest feat in the Maracana stadium when they beat Brazil 2-1 in the 1950 World Cup final – that day is remembered as the Maracanazo.