‘It isn’t just between Neymar and Rodriguez’


Neymar and Colombian counterpart James Rodriguez have been in fine form this tournament, billing many to see their last eight showdown as an individual battle between the two stars.

Yet Neymar himself believes Colombia as a whole will be a difficult opposition, not just their key player.

“Colombia are another tough South American opponent after Chile and it won't get any easier,” Neymar told The Times of India.

“Also, it isn't a match between Neymar and James Rodriguez but a game between Brazil and Colombia.

“We will once again have to perform as a team.”

Brazil’s leading goal-scorer at the tournament did go on to complement Rodriguez, who is leading the overall goal-scoring charts with five so far in the competition.

“James is a dangerous player and he has shown what a talent he is with a brilliant left foot and great vision,” said the Barcelona forward.

“We need to give him little to no space or otherwise he will spell danger for us.”

Neymar went on to describe his side’s difficult victory in the Last 16 over continental rivals Chile, where the Selecao needed penalties to book their place in the last eight of the competition.

“Against Chile we really suffered,” Neymar revealed. “In the end it was pure emotion.

“My tears after the game were those of sheer happiness. But we also know that the game against Chile was not one of our best matches, but the desire to win and get through to the next round was huge.

“It was the most I have ever suffered in football. We need to repeat all of this against Colombia to make it into the semi-finals.”

The 22-year-old admitted to the “massive” pressure his side face in succeeding at their home tournament.

“It’s massive. It's inhuman,” he said.

“We have a very big responsibility as we represent a country of 200 million Brazilian people, all of whom are hoping to see us lift the title for a sixth time.

“Only that would give our country and our people much-needed happiness and better days.”

Brazil’s clash against Colombia is set for 10pm South African time on Friday night.


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