Brazil and Colombia go head to head today (10.00 PM CET) in the World Cup quarter finals. With FC Barcelona’s Neymar and Dani Alves in the side, the Castelão Stadium, Fortaleza, will be the venue for what promises to be a fascinating tie between two of the three South American sides that are left in the competition. Colombia have been one of the most impressive teams so far at Brazil 2014, and have high hopes of upsetting the hosts.
After picking up problems with both his knee and thigh, there were question marks over Neymar’s availability for this game. But it seems that Luis Felipe Scolari has nothing to worry about and the Barça striker should be able to start against Colombia. Dani Alves is also expected to be joining his club team-mate in the starting eleven.
It is not going to be easy for the ‘canarinha’. The side coached by José Pekerman have won all four of their games so far. In the group stages, they took the maximum nine points from wins against Greece (3-0), the Ivory Coast (2-1) and Japan (4-1), and were arguably the only side to win their second round fixture with relative ease, a 2-0 victory against Uruguay. They’ve done that playing some of the best football on show at this year’s World Cup. And they have James Rodríguez in their ranks, the tournament’s leading goalscorer with five goals, one more than Leo Messi, Neymar and Thomas Müller.
Despite looking solid in defence and dangerous in attack, Brazil’s record has not been quite so impressive. They beat Croatia and Cameroon in the group stages, but were held by Mexico, and then only got past Chile on the back of a nerve-racking penalty shootout. Barça’s Neymar has been the most outstanding player for Brazil thus far. He is the man through which just about every attacking move passes, and has scored exactly half of his country’s eight goals. But Colombia promises to be the biggest test yet, with the hopes of an entire country pinned on what their team can do in Fortaleza.
The winners of tonight's match will face either Germany or France in the semi-finals. Messi and Mascherano's Argentina play Belgium on Saturday, while the other quarter final involves Holland and Costa Rica.