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 Posted by Dermot Corrigan
Jul 2, 2014

Asprilla: Colombia can beat Brazil

Does James Rodriguez's World Cup performance so far make Colombia the favorite over host nation Brazil?

Former Colombia international Faustino Asprilla has backed his country to easily overcome Brazil in Friday's World Cup quarterfinal clash.

- Cambers: Quarterfinals betting guide

Colombia have been the revelation of the tournament so far, winning their group with three victories from three games, and then seeing off Uruguay 2-0 in the round of 16.

Meanwhile, hosts Brazil have been far less impressive, struggling in group games against Croatia and Mexico, and needing penalties to get past outsiders Chile in their first knockout game.

Asprilla, who won 57 caps for Colombia and featured at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, told El Espectador that if both teams continue in their current form then there can be only one winner from Friday's game at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza.

"Brazil as a team do not have very much, they are not playing very well," the former Newcastle and Parma attacker said. "It is Brazil, they are five-time champions, playing at home, and that must be taken into account. But I believe that with the level Colombia are playing at, we can dream about more.

"After seeing Brazil's game against Chile, and Colombia against Uruguay, I believe Brazil are the team with most to be worried about. If Colombia play as they have been doing during the World Cup, they can beat Brazil easily."

El Espectador also spoke to another former Colombia international, Juan Pablo Angel, who highlighted the contribution to their country's cause of James Rodriguez, who has five goals and two assists from just four games.

"James is at an amazing level, it is not for nothing that FIFA named him the best player in the group stages," ex-Aston Villa and New York Red Bulls centre-forward Angel said. "It is not just his goals, but also his assists and his influence in the play. In this team he is alongside other great forwards that he knows, like Teo [Gutierrez] and Jackson [Martinez].

With first-choice Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo suspended for Friday's game, back-up Ramires could come into the side, and the Chelsea man said at Tuesday's news conference that whoever started would be keeping a close eye on Colombia's main man.

"I have not played against [James] before, but I have followed him since he was at Porto," Ramires said. "I have seen that he has special quality, and he is having an excellent World Cup. He is Colombia's 'crack.' We will have to pay special attention to him, so as not to be surprised. We will be watching him, just like the Colombians will keep an eye on Neymar."

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