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While it seems reactionary to suggest that a game featuring 22 players plus substitutes will be decided by just two, that could well prove to be the case for Brazil vs. Colombia, who have both looked to their star strikers to help them navigate the competition so far.
Neymar has more than lived up to his billing as the poster boy for the host nation, scoring four goals and essentially carrying a Brazilian team that has looked lacklustre.
However, with rumours of a Neymar injury plaguing Brazil’s preparation, per Charles Reynolds of the Independent, the team’s reliance on the Barcelona star has been made even clearer. Fellow striker Fred has suffered from a chronic lack of form, and Brazil have failed to truly impress in any other area.
They were but centimeters away from being eliminated in the last round when Chilean striker Mauricio Pinilla struck the bar in the dying seconds. The Selecao required penalties to defeat their South American rivals, who were the better team for much of the match and can count themselves extremely unlucky.
Colombia have been all about James Rodriguez. Many saw the pre-tournament loss of star striker Radamel Falcao as the nail in the coffin for Los Cafeteros’ chances of glory, but from his considerable shadow has emerged Monaco star Rodriguez, who so far leads the Golden Boot hunt with five goals.
He scored both goals in what proved to be the most routine victory of the second round, the first of which was a sensational volley from outside the area. However unlike Brazil, he hasn’t eclipsed his teammates—both Jackson Martinez and Juan Cuadrado have also looked extremely impressive.
While the hosts' elimination would still be considered a shock, judging by the form of the two sides Colombia definitely have the edge. Add to that the fact that Neymar may not be 100 percent fit and the energy expended by Brazil last round compared to the relative stroll in the park Colombia had, and an upset is well and truly on.