Brazil 2 Colombia 1: Three talking points as hosts nullify Man Utd target

Brazil 2 Colombia 1: Three talking points as the hosts narrowly scrape into the last four on Friday night

By Ben Barker
Brazil
2
Colombia
1

Physicality the method of choice to nullify James

Much like when the Selecao were faced with the prospect of keeping Dutch legend Johann Cruyff under wraps in 1974, the host nation decided once again that the best approach for dealing with a star player was a physical one. Much of the build-up to the South American quarter-final was focused on the two number 10’s, with Colombia’s James Rodriguez arguably outshining the darling of Brazilian football, Neymar. The Monaco forward had very little opportunity to add to his five goals and four assists at this tournament, due to the simple fact that he was swarmed on by two or three yellow shirts and kicked lumps out of. Two noteworthy moments saw Rodriguez at the centre point of his country’s attack, firstly steaming past Paulinho, David Luiz and Oscar to send Juan Cuardrado through three-on-one, before he coolly stepped up to sweep home an 80th-minute penalty. However, the Brazilian midfield made sure his contributions were limited, and Fernandinho, in particular, made sure his presence was known.

Still more of a struggle than a Samba

Were it not for the simple fact that Brazil were playing in a World Cup quarter-final against Colombia in their own country as the host, you might be inclined to think the fans would be less accepting of the performance on show. After a breathtaking end-to-end start, Brazil could have had three or four goals to add to their seventh-minute strike. Instead, the game petered out slowly and became a staggered, spluttering affair which really should have produced more bookings than was the case. Mislaid passes, copious fouls and simulation replaced the flair, tempo and panache that should be synonymous with the hosts, as pre-match criticisms of Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side were somewhat justified. It took two set-pieces to secure the victory, but supporters will point to similarities between the Brazilians and Louis van Gaal’s Holland, compromising on an ideology in order to gain results. Two more wins and that mindset will be vindicated, and the fans’ eternal optimism will certainly help.

A tale of two centre-halves

Brazil’s defence has left much to be desired thus far in the World Cup, but their two centre-halves provided telling attacking contributions against Colombia as they took the game by the scruff of the neck. Thiago Silva’s early goal ricocheted off his knee and into the net as the captain showed his experience in turning balls home. But goal and performance of the night has to go to Silva’s defensive partner Luiz. Paris Saint-Germain’s latest signing stepped up to a 30 yard freekick just after the hour mark, and planted it side-footed straight into the top corner of the net. It was Drogba-esque in its execution, as the ball flew straight and true, and Luiz’s celebration was a reciprocation of the relief amongst the crowd. Silva’s petulance in kicking the ball away at the game’s lowest period means he’ll miss the semi-final against Germany, so Luiz will likely be partnered with the equally hairy but less qualified Dante. Against such oppressive opponents at the Germans, Silva’s suspension could prove the biggest stumbling block yet.

MORE:

MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

Davis Cup final 2017
The Sport Review
Davis Cup 2017: Can Goffin and Darcis lead giant-killer Belgium past France to victory at last?
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 25 footballers’ cars: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid players feature
The Sport Review
Top 20 Nigerian footballers in Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal player wages 2017: Do you know how much Xhaka, Ozil and Coquelin earn each week?
The Sport Review
Michael Owen sends warning to Chelsea ahead of Liverpool FC clash
The Sport Review
Sir Alex Ferguson privately raves about 20-year-old Man United star – report
The Sport Review
Antoine Griezmann talks up potential Man United transfer next year