Colombia could end up Brazil’s nightmare opponents
They are playing under no pressure, with this already the furthest they have ever progressed at a World Cup. James Rodriguez, Jackson Martinez, Juan Cuadrado
Scolari had made great play of the threat posed by Chile in the buildup to Brazil’s last-16 tie, with all those concerns justified over the intriguing 120 minutes and penalty shootout that ensued.
The hosts limped away from that success as relieved as they were elated. Hopefully their evenings will not have been ruined by glimpses of Colombia easing beyond Uruguay, normally such rugged, awkward opponents, back in Rio de Janeiro.
Inspired by James Rodríguez, but with the attacking talents of Jackson Martínez, Juan Cuadrado and Teófilo Gutíerrez working effectively in unison around their 22-year-old playmaker, the Colombians are coming. José Pékerman’s side travel north to Fortaleza for Friday’s quarter-final fresh – they had no extra time to concern them at the Maracanã, where the contest was effectively settled seven minutes after the interval – and confident after 11 games unbeaten.
They are playing under no pressure, with this already the furthest they have ever progressed at a World Cup. There is a vibrancy to their play which all-comers will struggle to snuff out.
A team that started the finals as dark horses for the latter stages actually feel like favourites going into a tie against the hosts. Certainly, the Brazilians will have to be sharper up front and more assured at the back if they are to avoid a distinctly uncomfortable occasion on the north-east coast.
“Brazil will be at their best because they played a difficult match against Chile and winning gives you a lot of confidence,” said Pékerman, who should know. “We expect a match with a lot of tension, but of a good technical level because of the attitude of the teams. We want our fans and people watching this World Cup to enjoy us.” They have been a pleasure to behold to date. Brazil may disagree come Friday evening.
Colombia 2-0 Uruguay
Brazil 1-1 Chile Watch All Goals
Brazil 3-2 Chile Watch Penalty Shootout
Olympique de Marseille
World Cup 2014