The 2014 World Cup can still be a joyous party for Brazil. With the quarterfinals starting on July 4, Brazil is still in line to win its sixth World Cup title in front of its home fans. However, the Brazilians haven't even been the hottest South American team in this tournament, as surprising Columbia has come to believe it has a real shot to make history in their quarterfinal match.
Columbia has won all four of its matches so far in convincing fashion, reaching the quarters for the first time ever. Meanwhile, Brazil was merely the first superpower to sweat out and survive a second round match, as it needed help from the post to eek past Chile in penalty kicks.
That could be the wake up call Brazil needs to finally dominate its own World Cup, especially with upstart Columbia now looming. Or it could be an ominous sign of things to come, given that far tougher opponents than Chile await in future matches. Since the Brazilians have lost in the 2006 and 2010 quarterfinals after winning it all in 2002, there is a significant psychological hurdle to overcome today as well.
If the Columbians were ever going to upstage Brazil and make a serious run at their first title, this would seem to be the opportune time. Everything else has been going right for them in this tournament, including the rise of 22-year-old leading World Cup scorer James Rodriguez. The rise of Rodriguez has even upstaged the heroics of Brazil's own Neymar, although that theory will be put to the ultimate test today.
Columbia thought that its big World Cup breakthrough would come 20 years ago in America, only to suffer an infamous loss to the USA that led to the murder of Andre Escobar. However, Rodriguez and the 2014 squad have finally helped erase those national demons, and can go a giant step further by shocking the world and the tournament hosts.
Rodriguez, Neymar and their respective South American powers will fight for individual and team glory at 4 p.m. est on ESPN.