Brazil v Colombia - World Cup quarter-finals match preview

The hosts of the World Cup are meeting the most exciting team in the tournament in the quarter-finals in Fortaleza, and it will be a duel between two stars, Neymar and James Rodriguez. The Colombian is leading the Golden Boot race with five goals, plus two assists, and Neymar scored four times so far, twice against Croatia and twice against Cameroon. Neither Colombia nor Brazil are one-man bands but these two stars will be in the spotlight tonight in Fortaleza at 21.00 UK time.

Brazil haven't been impressive so far but have been advancing through the ranks of the tournament confidently and therefore showed the winning spirit that was expected of them even if there's no samba here other than what Neymar is doing. The Brazilian only intent is to win this tournament and it shows, they believe they are entitled to win the trophy and are the favorite in every match. The pressure is almost gone now when the Brazilian team got going, now they're playing each match to the best of their ability, with Neymar carrying the team on his shoulders. The others rarely join in but are still good enough to somehow control the match and get the win. Against Chile it had to come through a penalty shootout but Brazil grew as a team for it.

Colombia have performed amazingly well even without Radamel Falcao as James Rodriguez and Teofil Gutierrez took charge of this team. While Colombia has played some very good matches, all of them were played against inferior teams. Colombia was in the weakest group in the tournament, and they played against Greece, Japan and Ivory Coast - all three being outsiders of this tournament - and then they faced Suarez-less Uruguay in the round of 16 and took care of them with two goals by Rodriguez. Colombia therefore haven't yet had a single real test and they haven't played one of the title candidates or one of the strong European teams, also not playing against any in-form team. It's all been easy for Colombia so far and it's no wonder they've won all four matches. Now they'll be the underdogs for the first time in this tournament and it remains to be seen how comfortable will that position be for them.

Unlike Brazil, Colombia haven't exceled in the defensive phase and they haven't really been tested by their four opponents so far, so it remains to be seen how will this offensive team perform when the Brazilians, most notably Neymar, are on the opposite side attacking their average defence.

Both teams had to travel quite a lot to get to Fortaleza, this being the first match Colombia are playing so far up North where the weather is hot. All of their four matches so far have been played in the pleasant South, so this might be a big change for Colombia but on the bright side, they weren't exhausted by the heat.

Carlos Velasco Carballo from Spain is the referee. He hasn't done well so far in this tournament but is chosen for this match as one of the European referees. He likes to build his authority by issuing cards.

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