South American World Cup is witnessing the battle between the South American teams quite regularly. Chile and Uruguay bite dust at the hands of Brazil and Colombia respectively. Brazil V Colombia will see the exit of another side, but before going out we can expect and exciting and entertaining game between the yellows.
Brazil laboured their way into the quarter finals of the World Cup by getting the better of Chile in pre-quarters. Brazil looked far from convincing even in group stage clashes against Croatia and Mexico. Luis Felipe Scolari’s side needs to step-up and rise to the occasion if they are hoping to lift the hexa in Maracana. Colombia on the other hand are the high flyers in the tournament. They have registered 11 goals in the tournament and have won all their matches convincingly so far. The absence of Radamael Falcao is a thing of the past now as James Rodriguez inspired side is looking like a well oiled machine on the field. As the match promises to be an exciting encounter between two Latin American sides, TheHardTackle analyses the key battles which will decide the outcome of the game.
Neymar v Christian Zapata
Whether Neymar is 100% fit or not, he is expected to take the field in Fortaleza. Barcelona forward has so far carried the weight of expectations of the host nation on his tender shoulders. He has risen to the occasion with 4 goals in the tournament and is the most lively player in the Selecao shirt without a doubt. Brazil simply gets the ball into Neymar’s feet whenever they are in trouble and the 22-year-old weaves his magic to get the hosts out of trouble. If Colombians aren’t careful about the flair and ability possessed by Neymar, his trickery will punish them hard.
AC Milan central defender Christian Zapata needs to play his best game to keep Neymar quiet on the pitch. Brazil are likely thrust Neymar further forward due to the poor displays from Fred, and it will put Neymar directly in the zone of Zapata. Serie A defender needs to concentrate fully on the Brazilian number 10 and any slip ups will be too costly. Partnering the veteran Yepes in Colombian defence, Zapata needs to be on his toes for Colombia to ensure their progress beyond quarter final stage.
Fernandinho v James Rodriguez
Fernandinho has carried his club form into the World Cup and recently ousted Paulinho from Brazil’s starting XI. The suspension of Luis Gustao might force Luis Felipe Scorlari to pair Fernandiho and Paulinho together against a rampaging Colombia side. Fernandinho is expected to play as the sweeper and he will be in direct battle with arguably the player of the tournament in James Rodriguez. Fernandinho isn’t a typical defensive midfielder, but he needs to curb down his attacking instincts to protect the shaky Brazilian defence which is going to face a stern test today.
James Rodriguez is firing on all cylinders for Colombia at the moment. James Rodriguez has 5 goals and 2 assists to his name already in the tournament and the prospect of facing a shaky Brazil defence will increase his confidence ahead of the big clash. Columbia are expected to switch between 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 formations and the key component will be James Rodriguez. He is the creator as well as the finisher in Colombian side and stopping him on his tracks will be key for Brazil’s progress. If James Rodriguez gets a major say in the proceedings in Fortaleza, it will be difficult to look past Colombia for this encounter.
Marcelo v Juan Cuadrado
Marcelo is a doubt for the quarter final against Columbia, but the Real Madrid winger like Neymar are expected to take the field due to the importance in Brazil team. The attack-minded free flowing wing back is expected to run up and down the left flank through out the game and is an extra outlet for Brazilian attacks. Marcelo’s tendency to surge forward and leave gaps in defence will come under scrutiny against Colombia’s young winger Juan Cuadrado.
Juan Cuadrado is tipped to make it big in international football. Young winger is already linked with the likes of Barcelona and other clubs has notched up 4 assists to his name and is leading the charts in World Cup. The pacy winger has shown flashes of brilliance in the tournament and will be ready to exploit the space offered by Marcelo. Cuadrado on the other hand might needs to help out his defence if Marcelo is on song at the other end of the pitch. If Marcelo fails to make it to the starting line-up Juan Cuadrado will be up against veteran Maxwell in Brazil’s back four. Then this will turn into a no contest as Cuadrado is expected to get the better of the veteran on all aspects.
Brazil V Colombia is promising out to be an exciting contest for the neutrals. The fans of both sides would have preferred a different opposition, but in World Cup you need to get the better of the best inorder to lift the covetable prize. The mini battles within this fixture have a major say on the outcome of the match and it remains to be seen whether Neymar or James Rodriguez can carry their brilliant form to this match.