Brazil has been given a massive boost ahead of their quarter-final with Colombia with the news that star player Neymar has been declared fit. The poster boy of the tournament was a doubt after he picked up knee and thigh injuries in the brutal last-16 tie with Chile. But, after being wrapped up in cotton wool all week, he will start the game in Fortaleza.
As his team-mates continue to struggle, the pressure has increased on Neymar with each game. However, Chile showed that being physical is the best way to stop him. Nullify Neymar and you nullify Brazil. Oscar, Hulk and Fred, who complete the attacking four, will be required to step up their game.
The hosts will have to improve on their performances so far if they are to overcome a Colombia side who have been the most impressive team in the tournament. After topping Group C, Colombia beat Uruguay 2-0 in the last-16 and is playing with the confidence Brazil lack. James Rodriguez has been the man of the tournament, and he will be the biggest threat to Brazil’s unstable defence.
Colombia has been the surprise package of the World Cup. There is now a real belief that they could go and win their first World Cup but Brazil will be hoping that they’re lack of experience could cost them in their quarter-final. Along with Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Teofilo Gutierrez have a pivotal role to play going forward if they are to cause an upset.
Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari likes continuity and is expected to name an unchanged side. Colombia has no new injury worries either. The game has potential to be the most exciting of the tournament. Colombia likes to play attacking, free flowing football while their defence is prone to errors. Brazil will certainly be attacking in what is expected to be a high scoring game.
Brazil predicted XI:
Colombia predicted XI: