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World Cup

  • July 4, 2014
  • • 21:00
  • • Estádio Governador Plácido Aderaldo Castelo, Fortaleza, Ceará
  • Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
  • • Attendance: 60342
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Brazil – Colombia Preview: Red hot Neymar and James go head-to-head

Brazil – Colombia Preview: Red hot Neymar and James go head-to-head

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The hosts take on their in-form South American rivals in the World Cup quarter-final in Fortaleza on Friday

By Robin Bairner in Fortaleza

After their dramatic penalty shoot-out success against Chile in the round of 16, Brazil face perhaps their sternest challenge yet on the road to World Cup glory when the hosts face an impressive Colombia side at Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza on Friday.

While the progress of Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side has been far from overwhelming to date, including a 1-1 draw with Mexico at the venue here in Fortaleza, they continue to carry the frenzied support of the nation and the atmosphere promises to be spectacular.

A worry for the host nation, though, is the fitness of star man Neymar. The Barcelona attacker has been the offensive spark for his side throughout the tournament to date, netting four times, but sustained thigh and knee problems in the narrow success over Chile, although the medical team of the Selecao have been at pains to stress that Neymar will be fit for this encounter.

Arguably more of a headache is the loss of Luiz Gustavo, who would have policed Colombia dangerman James Rodriguez, through suspension. Paulinho will likely step into his shoes while Marcelo quit training early on Wednesday but seems likely to play.

Alterations in Brazil’s side are unlikely to be dramatic, as Scolari has built his unit around a regular core of players who are rarely altered.

There is little doubt which man Scolari will have highlighted to his defence prior to this clash. In the absence of Radamel Falcao, Monaco club-mate James has emerged as one of the stars of the competition, with the 22-year-old going shedding his reputation as primarily a maker of goals by toping the scoring charts with five of his own, including a spectacular opener as Jose Pekerman’s side dispatched Uruguay 2-0 in the last 16.

Mario Yepes was fit to play against the Uruguayans, despite concerns over a hamstring problem, while Jackson Martinez should retain his spot in the starting XI after coming into the team for the Uruguay victory.

Related

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Players to Watch
David Luiz
David Luiz
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 4
Games Goals YC RC
7 2 0 0

David Luiz is a popular figure in his homeland as plays with an exciting and somewhat unpredictable style of defending. The centre-back has been credited with Brazil’s goal against Chile, highlighting his importance from set pieces, yet he must also remain vigilante defensively alongside Paris Saint-Germain club-mate Thiago Silva to stop one of the most dangerous offensive lines in the world.

Juan Cuadrado
Juan Cuadrado
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 4
Games Goals YC RC
5 1 0 0

While it has been James who has been catching the headlines for the Colombians due to his goalscoring exploits, Juan Cuadrado has enjoyed an impressive World Cup, too. The Fiorentina winger is known for his extravagant nature on the field, and he will be eager to celebrate a goal with one of his trademark dances on this stage.

Prediction

This promises to be another stern test for Brazil’s ambitions to become world champions for a sixth time. There is a sense that they will rise to the challenge, but they will certainly have to improve their form if they are to book a semi-final date.

Editor's Prediction
Brazil 2

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