COLOMBIA v BRAZIL
(Fortaleza, Friday, 5pm)
The obvious relief — expressed by teary players — that engulfed the Brazil team after their penalty shootout win over Chile, suggests they will be even more worried by Colombia.
James Rodriguez is the player of the tournament so far, while in Juan Cuadrado, Teofilo Gutierrez and Jackson Martinez, they have other impressive attacking players.
Neymar came in for some close attention against Chile, if not the physical beating some have reported. The striker is fit, which is an ultimately huge boost for the hosts, who are yet to convince they can win the World Cup without him.
Their main problem for this game is the suspension of Luiz Gustavo, whose influence at base of the midfield was in danger of being underestimated. Man City’s Fernandinho is set to take over the role, leaving the so far underwhelming Paulinho to push on up the pitch. “I have played in a more conservative way for Manchester City before and I can definitely hold back to allow Paulinho more freedom,” said Fernandinho.
The aforementioned tears were perceived as a weakness by home media, prompting staff to enlist the help of a psychologist.
Prediction: Colombia 1-2 Brazil