Next Friday, the hosts Brazil will take on the super strong Colombian side at the Estádio Castelão in Fortaleza for the World Cup Quarter-Finals.
After experiencing severe difficulties to overcome Chile on the last round of the competition, Brazil will now face another powerful South American rival. On the Round of 16 match, Chile almost ended the Brazilian team World Cup dream when, on the dying moments of the extra-time, Mauricio Pinilla’s scorcher bounded from the woodwork after a truly frantic match, which the Canarinha only managed to win during the penalty shootout.
Brazil have probably not yet presented their best at this current tournament. After an unconvincing win against Croatia, the Brazilians failed to defeat Mexico and only managed to grab a somewhat easy win against a completely wrecked Cameroonian side.
On the match against Colombia, the former World Champions will need to pull rank in order to sustain and overcome one of the most impressive teams of the tournament so far. For next Friday’s match against Los Cafeteros, the Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari will not be able to count on the contribution of his wingman Luiz Gustavo due to suspension. To replace him, Scolari will probably give Tottenham’s midfielder Paulinho another chance on the starting line-up.
As for Colombia, the match against Brazil will represent their first stint at a World Cup Quarter-Finals. Los Cafeteros have failed to grant the ticket to the previous three World Cup tournaments and their best performance at such competitions was back in 1990, where the team, led by the charismatic Carlos Valderrama, reached the Round of 16 stage.
Colombia have been impressive in this tournament so far as they managed to win every single match with great class. Commanded by Cuadrado and the flamboyant midfielder James Rodríguez, Colombia defeated an Uruguayan side orphan of Luis Suárez on the last round and they will now face their most demanding battle of all.
For the match against Brazil, José Pékerman will certainly keep pushing his usual 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 if one prefers, with the team’s number 10, James “El Bandido” Rodríguez, lurking behind the team’s front man, a place that might be occupied both by Jackson Martínez or by Teo Gutierrez, because of his fantastic versatility.
If we have in mind both team’s career at the World Cup tournaments throughout the last century, Brazil have to be considered favourites, but if we look at their recent performances and to the strength of their teams as a whole, Colombia certainly have advantage for next Friday’s match.
Stats: W-4 L-0 D-1
Recent Form – WWDWW
Stats: W-5 L-0 D-0
Recent Form – WWWWW
Brazil (4-2-2-2) – J. César – Dani Alves – David Luiz – Thiago Silva – Marcelo – Fernandinho – Paulinho – Hulk – Neymar – Oscar – Fred
Colombia (4-4-1-1) – Ospina – Zúñiga – Perea – Yepes – Armero – Aguilar – Sanchez – Cuadrado – Teo Gutierrez – J. Rodríguez – J. Martínez
Prediction: Brazil 1 Colombia 2