Colombia got a warm reception back home and so did the French side. And also Brazil taking on Germany in the semi-final on Wednesday which promises to be an important clash. In an exclusive chat with Aditi Tyagi of Zee Media, former Indian skipper Baichung Bhutia said that Colombian reception shows how fans love football. He also said Brazilian fans` outburst on social media sites were unnecessary.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Colombia players got a hero`s welcome back home. What are your thoughts?
Colombia played really well and nobody expected them to perform in such a high level. The fans were overjoyed with their team and that showed on the streets. It also shows how fans love football players and the game in that country. Carlos Valderrama was a former Colombian legend and a star. And the quadrennial tournament is big for them.
How did they get the dance and football simultaneously ticking together?
They love celebrating essence of the game. They are skilled footballers and also have big talent in music and dance. They blended both play and dance well and it came off.
James Rodriguez has been their main man. How does it go for him?
Rodriguez scored in an emphatic fashion and both Thomas Mueller and Lionel Messi will not be able to beat his tally. They may tie the number of goals but I don`t see them overtaking James. His impact in Brazil has been great and the fans know that.
France players too got a warm reception. What are your views?
France were unlucky against Germany. They played well in the tournament and it was a good World Cup for them. What`s important is that they have a big future ahead. Their players come from different backgrounds and communities. But even off the field they have stayed united.
The reaction from Brazilian fans regarding Neymar incident has been very violent. They have gone on an outrage. What is your take?
Brazil fans got hurt after the Neymar injury. But injuries happen in this game. The tackle wasn`t a great one. Zuniga didn`t have any chance to get the ball and it was a silly challenge. But FIFA is there and they are looking into the matter and will take action against Zuniga if found guilty. The people should control their emotions. It is an unnecessary outburst on social media sites. Even the demands are too emotional.
The Brazil, Germany tie is pitted to be a difficult one. What you have to say on that?
It will be a tough match. Brazil have the crowd support alongside home advantage. Meanwhile, Germany have looked solid. Their team have different goal scorers and the unity is visible. Brazil was solely dependant on Neymar. Even against Colombia both their goals were from dead ball situations. Its 50:50 between the two sides. Germany go in as favourites but Brazil have the extra advantage.
Who has been your favourite goal scorer in the tournament? And which goalie has made the best save?
A lot of goals were really nice but I will go with the Robin van Persie goal against Spain. It was a perfectly timed run. The conversion, force, flight in the goal was beautiful. It was a perfect stealer. There are many goalies who made some outstanding saves, but you can`t keep everybody in the top list. The best performance was by Everton and USA goalkeeper Tim Howard. He was brilliant!