The Round of 16 is over and all group winners won their respective matches, some continuing their momentum and others suffering a little setback while having to endure extra time. Brazil, along with Costa Rica, had to wait until penalty kicks to finally earn their victory. Colombia, however, was one of two teams to have their game decided by two goals (no game was decided by more than two goals). With Brazil struggling to win and Colombia hardly breaking a sweat in their triumph, how can Brazil regain momentum and defeat Colombia?
1. Stop James Rodriguez
Four years ago, Thomas Mueller was revealed to the world in South Africa as one of the top players on the planet. This year’s World Cup has another up-and-comer in the form of Monaco starlet, James Rodriguez. He has scored in every game so far in this tournament, and even netted two against Uruguay, one of which could be a candidate for goal of the tournament.
He has done everything he could to heal the wounds left by the absence of Radamel Falcao by offering multiple assists as well as scoring five goals. His play has been extremely significant and he has been the player of the tournament so far.
Brazil must stop Rodriguez if they want to win. Everything Colombia has done has come through James. Expect Luiz Gustavo to have a busy day in keeping Rodriguez quiet.
2. Neymar Needs Help
Neymar has magic in his cleats, yes, but he cannot perform miracles when his feet are trampled. Chile did well keeping him under wraps, but if Brazil are to win against Colombia, Brazil needs someone else to share the load of scoring.
Fred has improved his facial hair, but not so much on his finishing. He has scored one goal, in which he might have been just slightly offside. The closest he has come to an assist was his flop in the tournament opener against Croatia, which resulted in a penalty.
Brazil needs to supply a true finisher up top and ease a little bit of pressure from Neymar’s shoulders. A little less weight on his shoulders could result in a little more magic from his feet.
3. Brazilian Fans Cannot Give up
It was odd to see Brazil’s fans look worried during the penalty kicks against Chile. Even though Brazil have yet to trail at any point during the tournament, should they fall behind against Colombia, Brazil fans must continue to support their team.
Brazil is a very interesting team: some teams choose to play tiki-taka (Spain); some teams choose to defend and counter (Netherlands); while some teams choose to pass around you, or sometimes through you (Germany), but Brazil plays to a rhythm. Whether they are set defensively or offensively, the ball moves to a certain rhythm.
Brazilians in the stands control how well their players do on the field by the rhythm they supply. Brazil might need their fans to give them a boost come Friday, and with Brazil fans vastly outnumbering every other nation, it could appear like Brazil has fielded an extra player at times. That extra player might need to supply an assist if Brazil wants to make it to the semi final.