Brazil vs Colombia World Cup 2014 preview: Luiz Felipe Scolari tells journalists to 'go to hell' - now he must transfer that bullishness to his teetering team

The hosts look like a squad at breaking point under the weight of pressure

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The Independent Football

All of a sudden, the high-minded pre-tournament proclamations seem a little hollower. Back then, on the eve of the opening game, so many Brazilian players were talking about how they were more than ready to deliver. It fitted with the general bullishness of their support around this World Cup. Victory was apparently a foregone conclusion.

Now, whatever they say, the side don’t look like they believe that. The tears after the Chile game were all too visible, the painfully evident tension seems to have had too much of an effect.

The theme that has dominated the national mindset in the build-up to today’s quarter-final against Colombia has not been Neymar against James Rodriguez. It has been that mindset itself.

Brazil are now under more severe pressure than ever before, to the point that Felipe Scolari has brought in a psychologist. They have looked like a team ready to break, and almost did so in the last-16 match against Chile.


Now, against Colombia, they must break a sequence. If Brazil don’t get past the quarter-finals, it will be the joint longest they have ever gone without reaching the semi-finals - three consecutive tournaments. The limited quality of the team almost reflects that, and brings more pressure they just don’t need.

By contrast, they face a Colombia team who look and feel freed. They have already banished so many ghosts and demons merely by reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. That it has happened on the 20th anniversary of the tragedy of 1994, and the murder of Andres Escobar, has only added another dimension. Even more impressively, Colombia have never once looked like a team burdened by that. Now, there is nothing really weighing on them for this game. It could set up something momentous.


In his pre-match press conference, Felipe Scolari had a typical moment of his own. He railed at journalists about his tactics, telling them they could “go to hell”.

He has always displayed such bullishness. It now needs to be fully transmitted to his team.