Brazil v Columbia – Can the hosts go the distance?

Host nation Brazil take on Columbia at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza this Friday evening, with a place in the 2014 World Cup semi finals at stake. The Brazilians remain the favorites with the bookmakers for World Cup glory, but this will likely be their most difficult test of the competition thus far. Columbia have won all four of their games in this tournament and star man James Rodriguez has been scoring for fun. Brazil are a shade of odds on to win this clash but this is about the biggest price they have been for any game so far in the competition. Luis Felipe Scolari will know exactly how dangerous the Columbians are, and will definitely not be taking them lightly. The winner of this match will face the winner of the encounter between France and Germany in the last four and both these teams are now just three victories away from lifting the biggest prize in world football.

I thought that Chile would provide a stern test for Brazil this past weekend and that they did. Brazil eventually came through the match on penalties and the game genuinely could have gone either way during the 120 minutes of football. The fact that Chile were unable to convert either of their opening two penalties really handed the advantage to Brazil, but they still only took the shootout by a 3-2 scoreline and this was another less than convincing performance from Neymar and co. It could be argued that Brazil are doing just enough too get through, which is the sign of a team that’s very likely to win the while thing. I would argue that they are riding their luck a bit and might not get away with doing so for a further three games. Although we are now down to the final eight at this World Cup, Brazil are still the same price they were at the start of the competition, with most bookmakers chalking them up at around 11/4. Had Brazil looked a dominant force at any stage, their price would have contacted by this stage. The fact that there has been no movement suggest the odds compilers are also unsure of exactly how capable this Brazilian side are.

Columbia have been the surprise package of the 2014 World Cup and experienced coach Jose Pekerman has done a fantastic job with this group of talented players. Having started the tournament at odds of 40/1, Columbia are now as short as 11/1 with some firms and victory here would see them become one of the favourites to lift the trophy on July 13th. While Uruguay were without the services of Luis Suarez in the Round of 16 match against Columbia, the game was never going to be a walkover and Columbia put up yet another very professional and assured performance. Should they apply themselves in the same way against Brazil, I would not be at all surprised if it Columbia who make it to their first ever World Cup semi final at the expense of the five time champions.

September 15, 2015: • No Comments

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