James Rodriguez and Co. arrive in Manaus on Tuesday hoping to end a long wait for a victory in the Selecao's back yard in what promises to be a feisty affair
On Tuesday Tite will take to the dugout as Brazil coach on home soil for the first time. With over 36,000 tickets already sold for the World Cup qualifier against Colombia at the Amazon Arena, expectations are sky high.
Arriving off the back of Olympic gold medal success and Tite’s winning debut Thursday as the senior side climbed down from the altitude of Quito with an impressive 3-0 victory over Ecuador, the smiles have returned to the faces of Brazil fans who'd had little to be optimistic about for the previous two years.
Last week saw the Selecao end a 33-year wait for a victory in Quito but this time around it is Colombia who will have to break the hoodoo – they have not won on Brazilian soil for 71 years.
However, Jose Pekerman’s side will pose a significant threat, and ties against the Colombians have become increasingly spicy in recent years.
The bad blood began at World Cup 2014 after Juan Camilo Zuniga caused a serious injury that ended the competition for Neymar.
The ill-feeling continued into the Copa America of 2015 and there were a number of volatile scenes last month at the Olympic Games as Brasil saw off Colombia in the quarter-finals.
But there will be much more to the tie than some feisty challenges. Colombian football is enjoying a resurgence, with the likes of James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Carlos Bacca leading the most promising generation since the legendary side of Carlos Valderrama and Faustino Asprilla more than two decades ago.
The balance between the two teams is reflected in the qualification table, with just one point separating the two sides after seven matches.
"Colombia are enjoying some good form,” says Juan Moncada Rico, editor of Goal.com Colombia.
“The victory over Venezuela showed the team are reliable, but Pekerman knows to face Brazil away is a more difficult test.
“It is the lack of punch in attack that is what worries him most, since he has established a very sold defence. Therefore, Bacca and Luis Muriel will be charged with delivering in front of goal and they will have to, because the first goal will be very important as it will shape the tone of the game. One goal could change everything, even end the story of 71 years without a win in Brazil.”
Last week, James Rodriguez and Macnelly Torres provided the goals in the 2-0 win over Venezuela, which was Colombia’s third successive victory in World Cup qualification and leaves them third in the 10-team Conmebol group.