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It's quarter-final time

Rashneel Kumar
Friday, July 04, 2014

MY mates who are rooting for Brazil to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup are quiet these days. They don't want to talk much about the quarter-final match against the high flying Colombia but believe the hosts will survive yet another battle in the mecca of football.

One, who claims to be the FIFA expert (in video game) and ends up losing to an amateur like me, says as long as Neymar is there nobody can beat Brazil.

The 22-year-old is without doubt Luis Felipe Scolari's trump card and has shown why. Neymar has scored four goals and is placed fourth on the Golden Boot race.

Even the best defence seems to falter away when Neymar is on song. He can take shots from anywhere in the opposition territory and with his sublime dribbling skills Colombia will need extraordinary defending to shut him down tomorrow.

Home crowd is probably Brazil's biggest strength but that depends on how the players perceive the support. The support could be easily construed to the pressure that the team has to win this World Cup.

The striking option for Brazil hasn't been to its usual best with first-choice Fred still trying to find his footing in the tournament. Their defence and centre play is bit shaky as well. Oscar in the midfield has been a disaster so far failing to provide that touch he is renowned for with English club Chelsea.

If Brazil has Neymar then Colombia has the star of the World Cup (so far), James Rodriguez. The 23-year-old midfielder is leading the goal scorers table on five goals and two assists.

Colombia's tactical approach makes the side one of the hardest to beat and their counter attacking play has proven quite lethal.

The experience in this stage of competition is something The Coffeers lack. They have never made it to the World Cup quarters before.

If they are able to hold their nerves and play like how they have been so far, expect an upset tomorrow.

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