Brazil midfielder Fernandinho has warned Brazil that they must not allow Colombia's James Rodriguez any space - or risk being overrun by the playmaker.
Colombia have well and truly lived up to their tag of dark horses, finishing top of Group C and sealed their place in the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over Uruguay to set up an enticing clash with Brazil.
But without their star man James Rodriguez, it may not have been possible. The Monaco midfielder has taken the World Cup by storm, scoring five goals in just four games to go top of the goalscoring charts, as well as providing his team-mates with two assists.
And Fernandinho, who played against Rodriguez when the Colombian was at FC Porto, believes they must stop the talented playmaker if they are to progress.
"I played against him in the Champions League," the 28-year-old said. "It was at the start of his time in Europe and he wasn't yet a first-choice for Porto.
"Already in that game he showed his technical quality with his left foot. In this World Cup he is showing everyone that the money Monaco paid for him was well invested. The less space he gets against us, the better it will be for Brazil."
Ahead of the all-South American clash, Fernandinho dismissed any notion that Brazil are struggling to handle the pressure to win their sixth World Cup on home soil.
He added: "We have been preparing ever since we first got together on May 26. We have worked on the psychological side and there is no need to do any of that now. What matters now is to show what we can do on the pitch," he said.
"This is my opinion. We have a very big responsibility representing a country of 200 million people who hope for happiness and better days through football." He added: "We still kept our concentration at the decisive moment when it came to penalties."
Goal of the World Cup contenders
Goal of the World Cup contenders
1/5 James Rodriguez vs Uruguay
The chest and volley strike at the Maracana was worthy of taking any side through to the quarter-finals. That it hit the underside of the bar just made it look even better.
2/5 James Rodriguez vs Japan
Rodriguez was already in contention for the best goal after his solo effort against Japan. He turned a defender inside out before a delicate chip over the on-rushing goalkeeper. Exquisite.
3/5 Robin van Persie vs Spain
The flying Dutchman with the flying header that really got the tournament going. The image of Van Persie flying through the air already feels iconic. That it came against the defending champions and went over the head of Iker Casillas made it brilliant.
4/5 Lionel Messi vs Iran
Argentina's talisman came to their rescue when it looked like a draw with Iran was on the cards. In the 91st minute, he picked up the ball on the right, shifted the ball onto his left foot to take it past a defender and then curled it round the keeper into the far corner. Well worth the wait.
5/5 Tim Cahill vs Netherlands
Cahill's left-footed volley went into the net with such speed and ferocity and the way the ball had come across his body just made the technique even more difficult. Another one off the underside of the bar.
Brazil face Colombia at the Arena de Corinthians in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.
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