Brazil vs Colombia World Cup 2014 preview: Five reasons why Brazil will win

The sides meet in a quarter-final in Fortaleza bidding for a place in the last four

Ahead of Friday's quarter-final meeting, we find a few reasons for the hosts to be feeling optimistic that it will be them going through.

1. Neymar

With two injury knocks suffered during the last round, Neymar might not be fully fit for the quarter-final. Yet even if he's not 100 per cent, Brazil still have one of the players of the tournament at their disposal. Four goals in four games is a great return and when he scored the decisive spot-kick in the shoot-out against Chile, it felt like the face of this tournament might just be destined to be the one smiling at the end of it all.

Read more: How Colombia have rebuilt since Andres Escobar tragedy
Fernandinho fears the threat of Rodriguez
Brazil to evaluate Neymar's fitness

2. Record against Colombia

Brazil and Colombia have met 14 times before - over those matches Colombia have won just once, way back in 1991. Based on that Brazil should be feeling confident, but for the neutrals a look at recent results might be something of a worry. The last four games have all ended in draws - with the most recent - a 1-1 game, being the only one of those matches to see any goals. Surely this tournament won't serve up a dull game though.

 

3. Host country

The hosts traditionally do well at World Cups. Of the 17 tournaments prior to this one, six of them were won by the nation staging it. There have only been seven tournaments where the hosts failed to reach the semi-finals, and in most of those cases, the hosts wouldn't have been expected to reach the last four in any case. They were 1938 France, 1954 Switzerland, 1970 Mexico, 1982 Spain, 1986 Mexico, 1994 United States, 2010 South Africa.

The Brazil players during their penalty shoot-out against Chile The Brazil players during their penalty shoot-out against Chile  

4. Colombia are on new ground

While Colombia have been hugely impressive so far, they are on new ground at this tournament. Never before have Los Cafeteros progressed beyond the last-16. Meanwhile, Brazil will be able to draw on all their experience of being five-time winners of the World Cup as they look to put a stop to Colombia's 11-match unbeaten streak.

Head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari Head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari  

5. Luiz Felipe Scolari vs Jose Pekerman

Jose Pekerman has been to a World Cup quarter-final before. In 2006 he took his native Argentina to the quarter-finals. Much like Colombia this year, they were hugely impressive up until that point but then after letting slip a lead against Germany amid some defensive substitutions, Argentina went out on penalties. Meanwhile Luiz Felipe Scolari is an international tournament specialist. He won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 before leaving for Portugal where he took them to the final of Euro 2004, semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup and the quarter-finals of Euro 2008. He returned as Brazil manager in 2012 and won the Confederations Cup last year.

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