James Rodriguez believes Colombia can beat Brazil in quarterfinal
James Rodriguez, one of the stars of the World Cup, is confident Colombia can beat hosts Brazil in their historic quarterfinal.
Los Cafeteros wrote themselves into the record books on Saturday as they made it through to the last-eight for the first time in their history courtesy of an impressive 2-0 win against Uruguay.
Rodriguez, like so many times over the past few weeks, was the undoubted star of the show at the Maracana as he netted arguably the best individual effort of the tournament before finishing off one of the best team goals.
The 22-year-old’s brace means Colombia will now take on Brazil in Fortaleza on Friday – a match they approach with the pressure off.
"We’re very happy because we are making history," Rodriguez said, collecting his third man-of-the-match award of the tournament.
"As a younger man, I always wanted to be here. That was a great dream of mine and we hope that we can make it far.
"It is a dream and we are making history and we want to do even more because this is a team that wants to win a lot.
"There is no pressure. Obviously they have their good players, they play well but I believe they must also follow us closely.
"We have good players and we can be dangerous, so this is going to be a beautiful match. It will be something extraordinary for us to play."
The Estadio Castelao clash is a mouthwatering prospect and one which the build-up is sure to focus on the individual merits of Neymar and Rodriguez.
The latter was praised to the hilt for display against Uruguay, with Colombia coach Jose Pekerman saying the Monaco winger has "every attribute of a top-notch player at a world level" and that he "never had any doubts that this was going to be his World Cup".
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez also heaped praise on Rodriguez, who he believes has been the best player in Brazil and put him in the same bracket as Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
"Well, thank you," Rodriguez said when told of Tabarez’s comments. "It is a matter of great pride that someone like him has said that.
"I only want to help us so that the team can win. I want to help and do my share so that Colombia will make it far.
"Regarding Brazil, they are a hard team, they have great players and they also have their history.
"I believe that we have to come out onto the pitch to win as we have always done and to always attempt to win.
"I only want to help. I am at a good level, we’re also scoring goals and I am happy because of that."
While Colombia can look forward to taking on the hosts, Uruguay were left ruing missed opportunities and the absence of Luis Suarez.
The forward’s four-month ban dominated the run-up to a match in which his clinical finishing was clearly missing.
"We knew Colombia had a very good side, one that is able to keep possession and featuring very good players who contribute to the team," Uruguay coach Tabarez said.
"In the first half, they dictated the tempo and we conceded one of the goals of the tournament.
"In the second half, we made mistakes and conceded again.
"Then we had to take risks to reduce the deficit, but we came up against a ‘keeper who performed extraordinarily well and didn’t let us back into the match.
"But I’m proud of these players. Once again they showed character and gave it their all."