Before the World Cup began, almost everyone across the globe was of the mindset that Brazil was the team to beat. After four performances from the hosts, none of them having been overly dominant as was expected, the Brazilians will come face-to-face with arguably the best team in the tournament thus far. Colombia, which has been led by James Rodríguez, amongst a host of other very good players; has been dominant in almost every single one of their opening four games. So when the two teams step onto the pitch in Fortaleza on July 4th, what can we expect to see?

The hopes of the Brazilian nation will once again rely on the shoulders of their starlet, Neymar. The 22-year old Barcelona winger has been one of the only Brazilian players that has lived up expectations. Good thing for the Brazilians though, is that their team is so talented that they don’t all need to play to their full potential in order to win games. That notion may be put to the test on Friday though as the Colombians have been absolutely dominant in every one of their World Cup games thus far.

If the Brazilians want to earn their way into a semifinal slot, they are going to need something from one of their strikers up top. If it were up to me, I would bench Fred as he has been absolutely horrific thus far, and put Neymar up top. I would then put someone like Willian in Neymar’s position on the wing as to provide some type of spark going forward.

David Luiz and Thiago Silva have had their shaky moments in back, but for the most part have been pretty solid in defense. The problem with this team does not lie in a lack of talent, it lies in the fact that they seem to settle and become content during certain moments throughout games. They have lacked a sense of pace and intensity during long spells throughout this tournament. Players like Oscar, who played a brilliant game in the opener against Croatia but has been seemingly absent since then, will need to provide that spark going forward.

The Colombians on the other side of things have been riding a wave of confidence up until the quarterfinal. They have been very strong in defense allowing only two goals over four matches and only get stronger the farther up the lineup you look. Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado have been almost impossible to contain, and will surely look to continue their dominance on the wings.

The Colombians are absolutely deadly on the counter attack, and if A Selecao want to have any chance of stopping them going forward, they will have to contain Rodriguez. He has become the household name of the World Cup thus far as he has the ability to change a game all by himself, something that was displayed in the game against Uruguay. There is nothing really to negatively say about the Colombians. They have been playing confidently and beautifully up to this point, so who is to say they won’t continue that trend?

There is no doubt that the Brazilians garner a more talented and stronger team than the Colombians. But this game is not about talent alone; it is about organization and who can play as a unit. Up until this point that team has been the Colombians. I think it will be a very close game, one that will offer a fair amount of chances going forward for each team. Once again it will come down to who is going to take advantage of the chances that they get. Can Brazil play with the intensity that has been missing? Can James Rodriguez and the stunning attack of the Colombians prove costly for a Brazilian team that can become too content? We can only guess at what we will see. From what I have seen up until this point, I can only predict one thing, and that is a shock upset for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men.

My Prediction: Colombia wins 2-1

Betting odds via Bovada.lv

Brazil:     -½  (-130) // (-130) Moneyline
Colombia: +½  (+110) // (+350) Moneyline
DRAW:    +280