Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said his team’s World Cup hopes had been ended by Colombia's quality and not the fallout from the Luis Suarez saga.
An inspired James Rodriguez scored twice for Colombia in the 2-0 win in the second-round game at the Maracana stadium on Saturday and Tabarez was generous in his praise for the victors.
“When you face an opponent that does certain things better than you have to accept that,” the 67-year-old coach told reporters.
“So we accept defeat, congratulate our opponent and wish them well, as a South American team, for the rest of the tournament,” he added.
Asked whether the four-month suspension of Suarez and the row which followed the biting incident in Uruguay's final group game against Italy had drained his team of energy, Tabarez was dismissive.
“I don't know what energy we could have lost on Suarez - we accepted he was suspended, we criticised the excessive harshness of the sanction and that is the feeling of an entire people,” he said.
“The show of football needs players of the quality of Suarez, we tried to defend him, as should be done for people who are part of our group and share the same objectives.
“But when he was no longer able to be with us, that was the end of that, there was no wearing out, we had the energy,” added the Uruguay coach.
In a gentle prod at the foreign media, Tabarez said he was reluctant to discuss Suarez “in front of people who have long had him in their sights” but said the team had been able to re-focus.
“It was among the things we discussed before the match - that we all knew what has happened but we had to stop thinking about it and bring out only the positive things from it,” he said. “I think that generated a lot of strength and willingness to get a result.”