James Rodriguez vs Neymar: Who has been the bigger star at World Cup 2014 so far?

Brazil face Colombia next and the two standout players go head-to-head

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The Independent Football

They are the two players who have shone the brightest at the World Cup in Brazil.

With host nation Brazil set to face surprise package Colombia in the quarter-finals, how do the two No 10s, Neymar and James Rodriguez, compare?

Neymar entered this tournament as the competition's poster boy, no player had more expectation on his shoulders. The 22-year-old Barcelona winger was not only expected to lead his team all the way to the final, he was expected to do so playing with a style and flair that the Brazilian people have come to expect from years of watching the very best.

After a £50m move to Spain - though the actual fee is still debated - Neymar was expected to fire alongside Lionel Messi. But Neymar did not galvanise a declining Barca side, in fact it's fair to say that Neymar was a disappointment in his first season in La Liga, as he scored just nine goals in the league as Barca were pipped to the title by the unheralded Atletico Madrid.

Three of just four Champions League goals came in a 6-1 win against Celtic in the group stage and Barcelona crashed out at the quarter-final stage, also to Atletico Madrid.

Coming into the tournament, those who had only seen Neymar perform in red and blue striped were sceptical that he could deliver what Brazil expected.

But the slight No 10 has gone from strength to strength in his team's four matches so far, not only scoring four goals, but consistently being Brazil's most potent attacking force.

He has come in for some rough treatment during the tournament, but for the most part has brushed it off.

Rodriguez came into the tournament with much less pressure resting on him.

After a brilliant qualifying campaign, Colombia were regarded by some as the tournament's dark horses. But just like it was for Rodriguez's Monaco, Colombia's grand plans were shattered when Falcao suffered a serious knee injury in January.

Rodriguez, who turns 23 on July 12, moved from Porto to Monaco for a whopping €45m (£36m) and though he performed well for Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain were the runaway title winners in Ligue 1.

The Colombian forward won eight major trophies in his three years with Porto, including three league titles and the Europa League. He scored 32 goals and had 21 assists in 105 games for the club. At Monaco, Rodriguez ended up as the third top scorer, with 10 goals, adding 12 assists as the club came second.

Hardly an eyebrow-raising record, but James has been the standout player of the tournament so far.p9-peckerman-2.jpg

Despite the absence of Falcao, Colombia's all-out attack has allowed their No 10 to flourish.

Playing in front of a solid base of Carlos Sanchez and Abel Aguilar, James is allowed the freedom of the pitch. Along with his tournament leading five goals, Rodriguez also has two assists.

Against Uruguay came arguably the moment of the tournament so far.

With his back to goal a lofted ball came into James - in one fell swoop he controlled the ball perfectly on his chest, moved on the half turn and unleashed an unstoppable swerving volley from outside the box past Fernando Muslera.

A new star was born and already the Colombia man is being linked to clubs across Europe.

These two will now meet in Fortaleza on Friday night. We can't wait.