Brazil is preparing to face its continental rival Colombia on Friday, July 4 at the World Cup 2014 quarter-final matchup. Colombia forward James Rodriguez and Brazil's Neymar da Silva Santos have been the driving forces behind the teams' forward momentum wins after wins in the Group Stage and in the knockout stages so far.
Brazil vs. Colombia game will begin at 1 p.m. PST or 4 p.m. EST and will be broadcasted through the ESPN network. The match also can be watched online through WatchESPN free live stream at the link below (free for cable subscribers).
Brazil and Colombia have played a total of 25 head-to-head matches in the teams' history, and Brazil has 15 wins, 8 draws, and only two losses against Colombia; however, Colombia has tied with Brazil in the most recent four games, an indication that today's match will not be easy for the World Cup 2014 host national football team.
Juan Camilo Zuniga commented about how they are planning to stop the Brazilian offense, mainly on 22 year old Neymar, who has helped Brazil scored four goals.
"To nullify Neymar the whole team needs to help each other out in trying to mark him," he said, according to FIFA.com. "We need to stay united and not lose our focus. We are compact team and we know that we play together we get results."
So far, Colombia has exceeded all expectations in their World Cup since 1998, winning all four of their games and scoring 11 goals. Forward Rodriguez leads the scoring charts in the entire tournament with five goals.
Coach Jose Pekerman told the press that despite how history, where Colombia has won only two of the last 25 matches against Brazil, points to the probable defeat of his team, his players have set their minds straining towards the future and forgetting the past.
"We know for Colombia each match is a new challenge and a new demanding opponent.... In Brazil, you must always believe in its football, its players, so we must do our thing, play our match in keeping with what we've done so far."
Colombia has won all four of its last four matches, defeating Greece 3-0, Cote d'lvoire 2-1, Japan 4-1, and Uruguay 2-0. On the other hand, Brazil has won only two of their last four games (3-1 against Croatia, 4-1 against Cameroon), and draw 0-0 against Mexico. In their last matchup against Chile on Saturday, A Seleção won by a one point margin in penalty kicks, otherwise it would've been a draw of 1-1.
Brazil's track record suggests that it has struggled to make it this far, but the players are confident of defending their home field against the up-and-coming Colombia, whose players have been playing in the English Premier League in Europe, which have raised their performance caliber.
"There's no doubt that being continential rivals has a huge impact," Brazil's defender Dani Alves told FIFA.com. "Emotionally, they're very tough games, because like European nations, we come up against each other all the time - in the Copa America, in World Cup qualifying.
"In technical terms too, it's a different style of football, though that side of things is changing," continued the Barcelona right-back. "Football has evolved a lot and nearly all the best South American players are in Europe. That's made the national teams here get even better and stronger. The games are still intense, with that South American flavour, but with more players used to always playing at the very highest level."
Although Brazil has only 87 defeats from 449 competitive games against South American rivals, its game at Estadio Castelao stadium is marked by uncertainty as the players are wary of their incoming opponent.
"In a way, this game has a Copa America feel to it," he said. "Except it's even more important and the pressure even greater. I think that sums it up."
The winning South American team of this match will play against the winner of France vs. Germany in the following Tuesday.
The highly anticipated match will begin at 1 p.m. PST and its free live stream can be watched online at ESPN.