Colombia scent Brazil upset, says Sanchez

Rosa Sulleiro
AFP

Cotia (Brazil) (AFP) - Far from being overawed, Colombia face Brazil in the World Cup quarter-finals on Friday with real belief that they can break 200 million Brazilian hearts and knock the hosts out.

The Colombians have emerged as one of the revelations of the tournament. Five-goal hero James Rodriguez has helped inspire the South Americans to a perfect four wins out of four.

Now Brazil stand in their way in Fortaleza in the latest stage of their best ever World Cup showing - a last 16 spot in 1990 was the furthest they'd reached up to now.

Midfielder Carlos Sanchez, asked if Colombia were scared of Brazil, said on Wednesday: "Afraid? No, respectful, yes, because it's Brazil, the organising country, because of its players, its coaches, and for everything Brazil represents."

Hurtling through the first round with wins over Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan Colombia topped their group to see off Uruguay 2-0 in the last 16.

Their swashbuckling progress is all the more noteworthy given many back in Bogota believed they had no chance of making an impression following the tournament-ending injury to their talismanic striker Radamel Falcao, a teammate of Rodriguez's at Monaco, before a ball was kicked in anger.

Since their first game it's been Colombia rather than Brazil that has seduced the world with the 'jogo bonito' (beautiful game).

But Sanchez refused to draw any misplaced conclusions from Brazil's sometimes laboured performances up to now.

"If Brazil are here it's because they've got the results they needed," Sanchez told a press conference at the team's World Cup base in Cotia, outside Sao Paulo.

"It's possible that in some people's eyes they haven't been at their best, but if they are here it's for sure for something."

- like a dream -


Sanchez said it would be foolhardy to place too much emphasis on Neymar, the inspiration of this Brazilian side with four goals.

"He's a global star, but it would be a lack of respect to speak only about him. This Brazil side has lots of stars.

"And for my part, due to my role on the pitch, I have to mark everyone, not just Neymar. It'll be a fight against everyone, not only Neymar."

Rodriguez pointed out that like the hosts, Colombia too had plenty of footballing jewels on display in Brazil 2014.

"We're facing a very tough rival, which has great players, but they also have to think that we have great players," said the Monaco playmaker who leads the World Cup scoring charts.

"We've got the armoury," concurred Sanchez, who plays for Spanish side Elche.

"We've got our chances to continue the adventure. We can create problems for any team. We'll give everything against Brazil."

Teammate Carlos Valdes summed up the general mood in the Colombian camp three days before the biggest test of their footballing lives.

"It all began as a dream, as a big adventure, but today, whilst keeping our feet on the ground, we are very happy to be able to say that we've got good possibilities (to go further)."


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