If I hadn’t known that Dani Alves and Neymar had dyed their hair I might be forgiven for thinking that they were turning grey with the stress of the pressure of the hopes of Brazil on their shoulders. It’s not news that just about every journalist at the World Cup is making disparaging comparisons between this Brazilian team and its predecessors, there has also been a lot of local pressure on Fred and Hulk for their performances.
I can understand how irritating it must be for people back in blighty to hear television commentators fawning over a team that clearly isn’t as good as the great Brazilian teams of the past but the point is that the team knows they will struggle to compete with the great teams which came before them but that does not make Brazil’s expectations any the less which is why in the game against Colombia, Brazil worked so hard to close down every ball. Why they didn’t allow Colombia to play (if you want to win a game why let the opposition play?), why David Luiz celebrated his goal so passionately.
There’s no doubt that this was an aggressive bad tempered game. Brazil committed 31 fouls, Colombia 23, both teams received two yellow cards and probably should have had more. Julio Cesar should probably have been sent off and so should Juan Zuniga for his reckless challenge on Neymar which fractured a vertebrae and ended Neymar’s World Cup.
So Brazil are through and Colombia go home. James Rodriguez may still be the tournaments highest goalscorer on 6 goals and was applauded by the crowd with the help of David Luiz as he left the field:
And so now Brazil face the prospect of a semi-final against Germany without caption Thiago Silva through suspension and without arguably their best player Neymar who will spend the rest of the tournament recovering from his back injury.