Brazil’s progress in the World Cup has stuttered so when they take on Colombia in the quarterfinals on Friday, advancement is not a foregone conclusion.
The fact that Neymar is recovering from injury adds to Brazil’s anxiety for the match in Fortaleza, plus the emergence of James Rodriguez as Colombia’s spectacular match winner makes this an intriguing clash.
Nevertheless, Ariel Tatum, George Town’s dynamic midfielder, sees the samba kings moving on and eventually winning the World Cup for the sixth time on July 13.
“It will be extremely tight against Colombia but I think Brazil will find a way to advance,” Tatum said. “They will have to watch out for Rodriguez and his supporting cast though. Hopefully, Neymar will have recovered from injury too.”
Tatum is enjoying all the spills and thrills, particularly when firm favorites are unexpectedly stretched, like Germany were in overcoming Algeria on Monday.
“There have been many twists and turns and I enjoyed the close call Germany had,” he said.
“I still believe Brazil have what it takes. They have had spells when they’ve looked good but need to put it together more and find that consistency. Not sporadic cameos, more 90 minutes efforts.”
The other intriguing quarterfinal on Friday is France against Germany in Rio de Janeiro.
France have rehabilitated themselves well after the debacle of four years ago when they were in open revolt against their coach Raymond Domenech.
On Monday, after a lackluster start, France recovered late on to beat Nigeria 2-0, thanks to Paul Pogba and a Nigerian own goal by Joseph Yobo.
Didier Deschamps, France’s manager, who has never lost as a player or a coach in the World Cup, is confident that the Germans – depleted by injury from the start – can overcome one of the tournament favorites. Deschamps was in the France side that won the 1998 World Cup, so he knows what it takes.