Let the quarter-finals roll on as we enter the ultimate stages of the FIFA World Cup where Karim Benzema’s France play Thomas Mueller’s Germany and Neymar’s Brazil take on Colombia.
Let the quarter-finals roll on as we enter the ultimate stages of the FIFA World Cup where Karim Benzema’s France play Thomas Mueller’s Germany and Neymar’s Brazil take on Colombia, with Golden Boot contender James Rodriguez in the opening clashes of football’s remaining titans. So how the teams prepared for the big ties? Here’s the preview of tonight’s games:
France vs. Germany
Desired result – A German win (in extra-time)
Under-fire Germany face a revived France in a pivotal World Cup quarter-final clash at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana stadium on Friday. The two powerhouses of the European football have so far impressed with their style of play and also with the knack of scoring goals. This represents an acid test for Germany coach Joachim Loew with his side heavily criticised for below-par performances in this edition. A place in Tuesday’s semi-final against either Brazil or Colombia in Belo Horizonte is at stake. Germany will have centre-back Mats Hummels back after missing the Algeria win with flu, while Lukas Podolski is fit again after a thigh strain. There is a question mark over midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger who is one of the key players in the German midfield. There is a question mark over France defender Raphael Varane, who is still not fully fit. Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho is fit again after knee problems, while it remains to be seen who Deschamps names as striker between Olivier Giroud or Antoine Griezmann.
Colombia vs. Brazil
Desired result – Brazil victory
Yellow shirts, enthralling attacking play and ‘must see’ celebrations; you must have wondered about Brazil, right? No, here’s a team that is stealing the thunder on Brazil’s very own backyard – Colombia.
If Brazil took the game against Chile to the penalties, Jose Pekerman’s Colombia brushed aside their Round of 16 opponents Uruguay with much ease. They have been a standout team at the Brazil World Cup and in James Rodriguez, they are in possession of the player of the tournament so far. The Monaco star is in running for the Golden Boot award and may even outshine Neymar in the race.
Brazil on the other hand, need to get Neymar fit in time. The Barcelona forward has been the ‘lone man’ carrying the burden of expectations of the nation on his shoulders. And for that, Brazilian coach Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has asked sport psychologist Regina Brandao to speak to the squad to help them deal with the pressure.
The pressure is mounting on the ‘Yellow Brigade’ of Brazil as well the Germans who have a point to prove to the football critics.