Brazil welcomes Colombia's attacking style
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari thinks his team may be at an advantage by playing in the World Cup quarterfinals in Fortaleza against a Colombia team that likes to attack often.
"The matches against Colombia are very tough. They have a very good team," Scolari said Thursday. "But it's different. It's a different type of rivalry. When we don't have this war atmosphere, our players feel more at ease. Teams like Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile don't let that happen."
Brazil struggled against defensive-minded Chile and was never able to impose its game. After a 1-1 draw, the tournament hosts needed a great performance by goalkeeper Julio Cesar in the penalty shootout to keep alive their hopes of a sixth world title.
While Brazil won two of its three group games and needed a shootout to advance from the second round, the Colombians had no difficulty beating their first four opponents.
Led by exciting young playmaker James Rodriguez, Colombia has already scored 11 goals, just one fewer than the Netherlands, the tournament's top-scoring team.
Colombia has beaten Brazil only twice - the last time in the 1991 Copa America - but the teams have drawn the last four head-to-head meetings, most recently in a 2012 friendly.
Brazil will be without suspended defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo.
Scolari is expected to replace him with midfielder Paulinho, but the coach has also considered changing the squad formation to the 3-5-2 scheme that he used when Brazil won the 2002 title, with an extra central defender.
France remembers '82
When Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer embarked on a series of hair-raising dashes out of his area in the second-round win over Algeria, it would have struck a chord with French football fans of a certain vintage.
In the 1982 World Cup semifinal, West Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher went airborne to challenge France defender Patrick Battiston. The two collided, knocking Battiston unconscious and breaking his jaw. Schumacher went unpunished and the incident still raises anger and emotion in France - particularly as West Germany went on to win that match in a penalty shootout thanks to the saves of Schumacher.
Predictably, the incident has been one of the major talking points ahead of the countries' clash in the World Cup quarterfinals. It will be their fourth meeting on football's biggest stage, with Germany also winning the most recent head-to-head in 1986 in the semifinals.
"Tomorrow we will write a new page of history," France coach Didier Deschamps said when asked about the hurt of 1982 and '86. "We will try to make it as pleasant as possible."
Germany is playing in the quarterfinals for a ninth straight World Cup and also reached at least the semifinals of the last two European Championships. But there is a growing feeling that a young and dynamic France team can bring down its more experienced opponent.
Altidore tore hamstring
U.S. forward Jozy Altidore said Thursday on ESPN's Mike & Mike radio show that he suffered a Grade 2 tear of his hamstring against Ghana and wouldn't have been able to play until the final rounds of the World Cup.
Altidore's revelation came after a 2-1 loss to Belgium eliminated the Americans from the Cup.
Leading up to the match, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann suggested that Altidore would be available to play if the team needed him.