So far during this world cup, Colombia have been one of few teams who have consistently performed at a high level, Managing to score at least 2 goals in every game and conceding only 3. However, coming up against Brazil in the quarters finals will be by far the toughest challenge this team has faced. Despite this I still believe that this match could go either way, and that the winner will most likely reach the final and have every chance of lifting the trophy.
In order for Colombia to progress beyond the quarter final stage they will need to show great mental strength and team spirit (which so far has been there in abundance) to overcome the Brazilian home advantage. So far, Brazil have been unconvincing but the crowd acting the 12th man have been a big factor in pulling them through. This could work as an advantage to Colombia (who will also be Brazil’s toughest test), by lifting the pressure off their shoulders. Should Colombia take the lead the crowd could easily get on Brazil’s back causing home advantage, to in fact become a disadvantage.
Colombia’s strength is definitely in attack. James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado have been stand out performers so far in the tournament, contributing 6 of their team’s 11 goals between them. Add this to a strike force of Jackson Martinez and Teofilo Gutierrez and you have one of the best front lines in the tournament, certainly better than that of Brazil’s. The challenge will be seeing if they can find their way past a solid Brazilian back line.
Unlike the Brazilians, Colombia’s defence is their weakness. Mario Yepes and Cristian Zapata are “good” players but in order to win a World Cup, more often than not, you need “excellent” players at the back. This back 4 is a far cry from previous winners such as France ’98 led by Desailly and Thuram or Italy ’06 led by Fabio Cannavaro. This is not to say that I don’t believe Colombia to possess the ability to win the World Cup, however, I do believe they will find it harder than previous winners as they will have to out-score better and better attacking threats.
So far throughout the World Cup the star of not only the Colombian team but the entire tournament has been James Rodriguez, contributing 5 goals and 2 assists in just 4 appearances. If he can keep up his performance levels then Colombia are more than a match for any side. James has provided that cutting edge around a string of excellent attacking outlets, propelling Colombia to the quarter final stages and making them one of the tournament’s “dark horses”.
Colombia are definitely on the stronger side of the draw and I believe that should Colombia make it to the final they will win it, the quarter and semi finals are where they will meet their toughest opponents. Though capable of winning the World Cup, they are by no means favourites. In Fortaleza they will face the toughest test they will face all tournament against Brazil. Should Colombia come through this tie they will meet Germany or France in the semi finals and once again will be the underdogs, however, Colombia will be more than capable of winning this match. More often than not, the World Cup winner grows throughout the tournament and Colombia have the perfect platform to carry on doing just that.