Saturday 16 December 2017

Five reasons why Colombia will beat Brazil tonight

James Rodriguez of Colombia shoots and scores his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Maracana
James Rodriguez of Colombia shoots and scores his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Maracana

Simon Rice

Ahead of Friday's quarter-final meeting, we find a few reasons why Colombia can feel optimistic about causing an upset and reaching the last-four.

1. James Rodriguez

Brazil might have the poster boy of the tournament, but Colombia have the player of the tournament.

James Rodriguez has scored in every match with a total of five to his name. Two of them, particularly his volley against Uruguay, have been absolutely crackers as well. On top of that he has two assists.

Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2014 World Cup Group C soccer match between Japan and Colombia at the Pantanal arena in Cuiaba. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

2. Not a one-man band

Brazil are hugely reliant on Neymar to make the difference and while Colombia also have a stand-out player, they also have many more chipping in.

Jackson Martinez has a couple of goals whilst Teófilo Gutiérrez, Juan Quintero, Pablo Armero and Juan Cuadrado have also found the back of the net. The latter also leads the tournament on assists with three. They're not bad at the back either, they've only conceded two goals so far.

col6.jpg
Colombia midfielder Juan Cuadrado says the key to his side's starring role at the World Cup so far is that 'we do not compromise'. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

3. Weakened Brazil

There are serious concerns over Neymar - the talisman in Brazil's side.

He picked up a couple of knocks in the win over Chile and while he is expected to start, he might not be 100 per cent. Luis Gustavo, a starter in all Brazil's games so far, is suspended.

Brazil's Luiz Gustavo and Cameroon's Enoh Eyong (front) fight for the ball during their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia

4. Fortaleza

Brazil are going on something of a tour of the country with the intended last stop being the Maracana for the final in Rio de Janeiro.

They've taken in Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza. Against Colombia they will be returning to the Estádio Castelão in Fortaleza, which is where they played Mexico during the group stage.

It was the only venue they failed to score, so not their favourite stadium. Colombia have yet to play there.

Marquez.jpg
Brazil's defender David Luiz (R) vies with Mexico's defender Rafael Marquez (L) during a Group A football match between Brazil and Mexico in the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

5. Feeling fresh

Unlike Brazil, Colombia didn't need 120 minutes to reach the quarter-finals.

In their 2-0 win over Uruguay the game was effectively over after 50 minutes when Rodriguez scored his second of the match. In contrast, Brazil played their match in the heat of the day and were taken all the way to penalties by Chile.

 Those extra minutes may have taken their toll, particularly if this game goes the distance.

Brazil celebrates after defeating Chile in a penalty shootout during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Brazil and Chile at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

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