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Friday, July 4, 2014

The FIFA World Cup Kickaround, Halftime, and Postgame Thread For 7/4/14: Centerbacks Back Brazil's Place Into The Semis

FT: Brazil 2-1 Colombia 


It was a team performance led by the centerbacks on both ends of the field to see the host nation progress. 

David Luiz had his strongest game for his nation, while Thiago Silva displayed why he is the best in the world at his position. Silva unfortunately got the stupidest yellow card of the tournament, as he will not be out of the semifinal against Germany. 

But Silva (and Neymar's possible absences) will be analyzed for days to come. Right now, Luis Scolari's team containing James Rodriguez for most of the evening was very good for the evening. Juan Cuadrado couldn't get things going on, and Teo Gutierrez showed once more how big the gap is when he has to replace Radamel Falcao. 

The front four (along with Victor Ibrabo) for Colombia failed to do enough as they struggled throughout to get clear chances on a Brazilian defense that had its best performance this tournament. Helping in that was the great play from Fernandinho, and even an unselfish display from Oscar. Even if the Chelsea man still hasn't looked like the force he was against Croatia, he still added to the team effort. 

Questions will be placed on Pekerman with him going with Adrian Ramos, who has barely played this tournament, instead of Jackson Martinez at the start of the second half for Ibarbo. Another question for the Argentina tactician is why he gave the start to Fredy Guarin instead of keeping Abel Aguilar in the lineup.  

Still it was a great run for the Colombian nation, finally getting to a World Cup quarterfinals. But the loss of their tailsman forward was finally felt today. 

Halftime: Brazil 1, Colombia 0 


So far, Fernandinho has been truly sensational, along with the goalscorer Thiago Silva and even David Luiz. James Rodriguez has badly gotten free from the clutches of the Manchester City man, where Victor Ibarbo has to help him like Juan Cuadrado is doing on the other side. 

Jose Pekerman took a risk bring in Fredy Guarin for Abel Aguilar. Guarin has been more in his own box than in Brazil's box this half as a last ditch defender even beyond Zapata, Yepes, and midfield partner Sanchez. 

Gutierrez will have to drop back to help his midfield, whether he stays up front by himself or has Jackson Martinez join him in the second half. 

For Brazil, Paulinho and Oscar will need to be active on both ends of the field. Oscar has done a great job helping Fernandinho on Rodriguez, while Paulinho has shown fine drive in his return to the lineup. 

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Pregame Thoughts 

How Marcelo will defend against Cuadrado, while Fernandinho mans Rodriguez, is the key on that end of the field. Meanwhile, will this be the day when Zapata and Yepes become the shaky, leaky pair that they have previously been before this tournament? Will they be bothered by anybit by Fred, or will Sanchez provide enough protection for them.

Finally, will the inclusion of both Fredy Guarin and Maicon to these sides be the one blip in chemistry for both these CONMEBOL sides. 
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