Football

Former Colombia striker Asprilla says Brazil will be beaten easily

Asprilla predicts a smooth 
outing for J-Rod and Co 
against the Selecao

QUARTER-FINAL

BRAZIL v COLOMBIA

(Saturday, 4am, SingTel mio TV Ch 141 & 
StarHub TV Ch 223)

Colombia have nothing to fear against Brazil when the two South American teams clash in the quarter-finals in Fortaleza on Saturday morning (Singapore time).

That is the view of former Colombia international Faustino Asprilla, who has tipped his country to easily overcome the Selecao.

Colombia have been the revelation of the tournament so far, winning their group with three victories from three games, and then seeing off Uruguay 2-0 in the Round of 16.

Meanwhile, hosts Brazil have been far less impressive, struggling in group games against Croatia and Mexico, and needing penalties to get past Chile in their last-16 game.

Asprilla, who won 57 caps for Colombia and featured at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, told El Espectador that if both teams continue in their current form, then there can be only one winner at the Estadio Castelao.

"Brazil as a team do not have very much, they are not playing very well," the former Newcastle United and Parma attacker said.

"It is Brazil, they are five-time champions, playing at home, and that must be taken into account.

"But, I believe that with the level Colombia are playing at, we can dream more.

WORRY

"After seeing Brazil's game against Chile, and Colombia against Uruguay, I believe Brazil are the team with more to be worried about.

"If Colombia play as they have been doing during the World Cup, they can beat Brazil easily."

In James Rodriguez, Colombia have one of the hottest players in the world.

The 22-year-old's rise has been meteoric. With barely a hair on his chiselled chin, Rodriguez has won league titles in Argentina and Portugal and, last year, swopped clubs for 45 million euros ($76.8m) when he left Porto for mega-rich Monaco.

If that fee did not grab fans' attention, then five goals in four games in Brazil, including the tournament's best against Uruguay which flew in off the crossbar from 20 metres, certainly have, sparking comparisons with Lionel Messi and Neymar.

The haul, along with two assists, has made Rodriguez Colombia's top scorer at a World Cup and a hero back home as the team reached their first quarter-final in the tournament.

Fitting statistics for a man occupying the No. 10 shirt once worn by Colombia great Carlos Valderrama.

"When one superstar is gone, another one has to step up. And that is Rodriguez," Valderrama said.

Another former Colombia international, Juan Pablo Angel, also highlighted the contribution of Rodriguez to their country's cause.

"James is at an amazing level. It is not for nothing that Fifa named him the best player in the group stages," the ex-Aston Villa and New York Red Bulls forward said.

"It is not just his goals, but also his assists and his influence in the play.

"In this team, he is alongside other great forwards that he knows, like Teo (Gutierrez) and Jackson (Martinez)."

- Wire Services.


After seeing Brazil’s game against Chile, and Colombia against Uruguay, I believe Brazil are the team with more to be worried about.

— Ex-Colombia international Faustino Asprilla

World Cup