The Brazilian goalkeeper has been one of the heroes for the home country so far in this tournament. His heroics in the penalty shootout against Chile that saw Chile score only 2 of their 5 kicks made the difference in an emotionally overwhelming game, as Brazil scraped through to the quarters. He will be crucial to keeping out the talented opposition players.
Alves has been a fixture in the national team for a few years now, and his performances show us why. The Barcelona man has been his consistent self down the right for Brazil. While defensive deficiencies sometimes crop up, his support to the attackers has been invaluable.
By far the most experienced man in this exciting Colombian team, Yepes is the rock on which the team is built. He may not be the quickest or the most fancy defender on show, but his brand of tough tackling and astute positioning has won him a lot of plaudits, and his team a quarter final place.
The captain and leader in this Brazilian team, Silva is the vital player at the back in a Brazilian defence that can be a bit fragile at times. His excellent technique and physique complement his ability to organise a defence. He will face a stern test against the Colombian upstarts.
After getting the campaign off to a flying start with his ‘Armeration’, this Colombian left back has been steady at the back and fair going forward for his team. He’ll face the likes of Hulk and Oscar next, and this will mean that he needs to be on top of his defensive game.
Gustavo is a cultured midfielder who plays at the heart of the Brazilian midfield, and is one of the main reasons that they find themselves in the quarters right now. His performances have been superb, with his passing and tackling catching the eye. His performance against Chile was incredible, and Brazil will hope for more of the same against Colombia.
The diminutive Chelsea midfielder has had a decent World Cup so far, with his best performance coming in the opening game against Croatia, where he won the game for his side. Overall, he has been quite useful, adjusting his position and game to accommodate Neymar, but Brazilians will be hoping for more impact performances from him.
This not unfamiliar name has lived up to most of the hype surrounding him. 4 goals scored in as many matches is a positive return from him, as the pressure will continue to be heaped upon his young shoulders to win the 6th World Cup. Considering the fact that he seems to save his best for high pressure moments, expect some fireworks against Colombia.
Arguably the player of the tournament so far, and the man who has given us one of the moments of the World Cup with his goal against Uruguay. James is already receiving a lot of attention, and Friday night is one of the biggest games of his career. Let’s hope for another great show from him.
Along with the aforementioned James, the Fiorentina man has been a crucial part of the attacking machinery that has devastated so many defences in the tournament. A lethal combination of pace and dribbling that is quite rare these days has made Cuadrado one of the standout players of the World Cup.
While a lot of talk prior to the tournament centered around Radamel Falcao and his fitness, too many people ignored his partner in crime, Teo Gutierrez. The forward did very well to set up the striker, and is doing similarly well to create space for James to thrive in. The Brazilian defenders better take notice.
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