Brazil v Colombia - Match Preview: Chelsea midfielder could start

With Luis Gustavo suspended, Ramires could start for Brazil in their quarter final match with the in-form Colombia in Fortaleza.

To be played on Friday 4th July 2014 at 21:00. Venue: Castelão, Fortaleza.

Odds: Brazil 5/6, Draw 13/5, Colombia 18/5

Preview & injury news

Hosts Brazil may have qualified for the last eight, but they were far from convincing when they overcame a resilient and robust Chile team in the last 16. A David Luiz goal gave them the lead, only for Alexis Sanchez to equalise and force the match all the way to penalties. The pressure is only going to build as the team continues to progress in the tournament, and the fear of failure continues to grow. In saying that, the character showed in getting through against Chile will make them feel confident, but Colombia will provide different threats than that of Chile.

James Rodriguez has been many people’s players of the tournament so far, his performances have been world class so far, and he will be desperate to continue his good form when they play Brazil on Friday. His first goal against Uruguay was almost, if not as good as, Tim Cahill’s volley earlier in the campaign and he will be someone Brazil will need to stop otherwise they could be in trouble of a shock early exit. Unlike their opponents, there will be little pressure on the Colombia side in this match. They have already qualified for their first ever quarter-final in a World Cup, and thus be feeling confident they can go even further in the tournament. This will certainly be a superb clash between two South American countries with great quality, worthy of the quarter final-occasion.

Key stats

The two sides have met 25 times with Brazil winning 15, and losing only twice to Colombia.

Brazil are unbeaten against their South American rivals since a World Cup qualifier in 2000.

Colombia have not lost a match since their 2-0 defeat to Uruguay in September last year.

5 players to watch

Neymar - The Barcelona player is the person who everyone in Brazil is looking to in guiding the country to their sixth World Cup triumph. He was Brazil’s best player going forward against Chile, but couldn’t find himself on the score sheet, the hosts will be hoping for more.

James Rodriguez - The Monaco midfielder has been outstanding so far in this tournament, especially in the recent 2-0 win over Uruguay when he scored both goals. Colombia look at him to be their main attacking threat, and Brazil will have to be at their best to keep him quiet.

Hulk - The former Porto player can be either brilliant or woeful. His performance against Chile was one of his best. His performance was direct and full of confidence, beating defenders and testing Bruno on a regular basis, he needs to do the same to take the pressure off of Neymar.

Jackson Martinez - Martinez currently plays for Porto, and was in sensational form leading him to be linked with some of the best clubs in Europe. He has scored two goals so far in the tournament, both coming in the 4-1 win over Japan. He needs to step up and be a target for Rodriguez to play off, if he can do Colombia will feel confident.

Thiago Silva - The emotion of playing in a home World Cup must be immense for these players, as captain, it is up to Thiago Silva to make sure the players are not over-hyped. So far, he is done that well, but with the pressure building, he will need to lead by example and take the pressure off his players with a good performance. He will need to continue that on Friday.

Last time they met

Brazil 1-1 Colombia (Neymar 64, Cuadrado 44) New Jersey, USA. 15th November, 2012.

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