COLOMBIA is relishing the prospect of meeting Brazil in a World Cup quarterfinal between two countries that share a history of playing the game beautifully, Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said.
“It should be a great game. Unfortunately, it’s a meeting that will leave one of two very good teams out,” Pekerman told reporters after his stylish Colombia side moved into the last eight of the tournament by beating Uruguay 2-0 on Saturday.
“Clearly they are two countries that like to play football in their own way. Two national teams that want to have the ball and use it well,” Pekerman said. “That’s their shared history.”
Colombia, playing its first World Cup in 16 years, has impressed crowds in Brazil and television audiences around the world by winning all four games so far and scoring 11 goals in the process.
On Saturday, the Brazilians in the crowd at the Maracana cheered them on as James Rodriguez, the revelation of the tournament to date, scored a goal of individual brilliance and then rounded off a perfect team move to seal the win.
Rodriguez, 22, is now the top scorer in the competition with five goals, ahead of superstars Neymar of Brazil and Argentina’s Lionel Messi who have four each.
The attacking midfielder, who plays for Monaco in the French league, said the Colombians would not be overawed when they meet their illustrious hosts in Fortaleza on July 4.
“There is no pressure,” he told reporters. “Obviously we have to be careful. They have great players but so do we … and we can make things dangerous for them. It’s going to be a beautiful game and a beautiful one to play in.
“This is a group of players that wants to make history.”