Brazil vs Colombia World Cup 2014 preview: The key men for each team in the quarter-final

Who will Brazil and Colombia look to as they fight for a place in the final four?

The hosts and dark horses Colombia go head-to-head in Fortaleza on Friday, as they battle for a place in the final four of the World Cup.

We look at the three key men Luiz Felipe Scolari and Jose Pekerman will rely on in the quarter-final and what each must do to ensure it is their team in the semi.

Read more: How Scolari is helping his team cope
Match preview: Brazil vs Colombia
Want to know Brazil's secrets?

Brazil

Thiago Silva

Captain fantastic for the host-nation. The 29-year-old is a rock at the back for an otherwise shaky Brazilian defence. While David Luiz and Dani Alves have been prone to jump ship when it comes to defensive duties, the PSG skipper is able to fully compensate for his team-mates’ deficiencies, oozing class and composure all the while. Thiago Silva has been able to calm the titanic vessel that is Brazilian expectation so far, but with the sea getting rougher and the boat having more holes than previously thought, Brazil are depending more and more on their captain for safe passage.  

Marcelo

The speedy left back will have his work cut out as he takes on Juan Caudrado, the World Cup’s leading assist maker. After accidentally scoring the opening goal of the tournament when he turned Ivica Olic’s cross into his own net, Marcelo has raised his game with the side only conceding two goals since that mishap. He has also been potent going forward with his purposeful overlapping runs providing him with one assist in the competition so far.

Neymar

The tricky striker has shown the likes of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo how to perform with the expectation of a nation on his shoulders. When things didn’t go according to the script in the opening game against Croatia, up stepped Neymar with a crucial double to send the whole of Brazil to away happy. Despite failing to break Mexico down he again dragged Brazil from trouble against Cameroon by scoring the goal that restored their lead, providing the cure for any nerves. It’s a lot to ask game after game for a 22-year old, but by the looks of it, he thrives on the pressure. Brazil's golden boy Neymar coolly put away his penalty during the shoot-out against Chile Neymar remains Brazil's biggest threat

Colombia

Mario Yepes

At 38 years of age Mario Yepes is the oldest outfield player in the World Cup and will retire when the competition draws to a close. You wouldn’t know it though, as the classy centre-back has kept two clean sheets in his three appearances this summer to silence early critics of Colombia’s defence. He has provided much needed experience to a young Colombian side and with him as the defensive anchor, players such as Juan Cuadrado and James Rodriguez have been able to fly.

Read more: Who will be king? Neymar or Rodriguez
5 reasons Brazil will win
5 reasons why Colombia will win

Juan Cuadrado

Cuadrado has created more goals than any other player at the World Cup so far with an impressive four assists to his name. The Fiorentina winger also scored a crucial goal against Japan to bring his side level in a game Colombia went on to win 4-1. The 26-year-old’s string of notable performances has alerted the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona to his availability, but instead of thinking about joining Neymar, Dani Alves and co. at the Nou Camp he currently has his heat set on destroying them in their own back-yard. Colombia's Juan Guillermo Cuadrado celebrates his team's second goal against Uruguay Juan Cuadrado has an impressive four assits to his name

James Rodriguez

The player of the tournament so far now faces his nearest contender. Rodriguez and Neymar will go head to head for glory in this all-South American clash. While the headlines were orbiting around the Brazilian number ten before the tournament began, James has since snatched them away, taking the competition to a whole other level in the process. With an unheralded five goals and two assists in four games, including a breath-taking volley which brushed aside Uruguay, Rodriguez has stolen the limelight from his opposite number. As previously mentioned, Neymar works best when he is the centre of attention, so the results of this encounter could be very interesting indeed.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor