Colombia Need To Hold Nerve To Punish Brazil

World Cup

Colombia have been superb so far at this World Cup. Next up it’s Brazil.

Can the feisty, entertaining Colombians knock-out the hosts or will ‘A Seleção’ once again prevail and move closer to the holy grail?

Obviously we only have hours to wait before kick-off at Estadio Castelao.

But if ‘Los Cafeteros‘ stand any chance of going through to the semis then they will have to remain composed and play the match and not the occasion. They will be playing in front of a huge crowd, many baying for their blood and desperate to see them lose.

The squad also have to keep an close eye on Neymar. They certainly can’t let him charge at veteran defender Mario Yepes. The Brazilian number ten may be seen more on the right to exploit the space left-back Pablo Armero leaves behind him when he constantly ventures forward. That could leave the pacey and tricky forward one on one with 38 year old Yepes. Mario has had a terrific World Cup so far, his positional sense is great but he is very slow. Playing Neymar on the right or centre could be a great move for the Brazilians.

That said the Brazil’s other attackers have been pretty poor. Hulk and Oscar need to do more to help out Neymar, whilst the least said about Jo and Fred the better.

The suspension of Luiz Gustavo could be huge for the Colombian’s as he’s probably been Brazil’s second best player at the tournament. He is the one that adds discipline to the midfield. Both Fernandinho and Paulinho have so far been inconsistent at best but one of them needs to fill in the marshalling role and try and contain James Rodriguez. The Monaco maestro has been simply fantastic so far in 2014 and his ability to find space in the opposition half has been remarkable. So the Brazilian midfield need to close the gaps and think about defending instead of constantly charging into attack mode.

As I’ve previously mentioned the flanks can be very important. Both sides have talented wingmen and wing-backs who love going forward. In Juan Cuadrado, Colombia have a star who has so far provided more assists than anyone else at this World Cup, with four assists. As he operates on the right, that means Marcelo needs to think more about his defensive duties than he usually does. Give Cuadrado too much time and space and he’ll find that killer pass.

Brazilian centre-back duo David Luiz and captain Thiago Silva need to prove that they are indeed worth the praise they were given in the pre-tournament build up. So far they’ve been OK without being dominating. That needs to change against the Colombians!

Both teams have solid goalkeepers but both will have to be at their best as they get ready to face the biggest threats to their teams involvement at this summers event.

Against the Chileans, for too long Brazil sat back and let Chile have the ball. That was a dangerous tactic and could be fatal against Colombia who’ve so far brushed opponents aside with their clinical attacking play.

Colombia don’t have history on their side. This is the first time they’ve reached the quarter final stages of a World Cup, while Brazil have been at this round in the last six occasions. The hosts also have a very impressive record against their opponents winning 15 out of their last 25 ties, drawing 8 and with Colombia only coming out on top twice.

But if Rodriguez, Cuadrado and co really want to look into the past for inspiration then they should remember that the last time Brazil hosted a World Cup they were eventually eliminated by fellow South American opposition.

Again Colombia need to enter this match forgetting about the event and history (as much as possible). The side are in form and need to play their own game and try and attack the Brazilians from the get-go, stay disciplined and importantly take any chances that come their way.

Brazil will have a whole nation backing them and that has it’s own pressures, Colombia need to try and make that work to their own advantage.

Whatever happens tonight, I hope we see a fantastic spectacle, plenty of goals and the best team winning. Will that be the ‘dark horses’ Colombia? Only time will tell.

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