Brazil overcame Colombia 2-1 as Neymar was stretchered off. He is going to miss the rest of the tournament. On the other hand, Germany pipped France 1-0 to set up Brazil showdown. In an exclusive chat with Aditi Tyagi of Zee Media, former Indian skipper Baichung Bhutia said Neymar`s injury will be a big blow for Brazil. He also lauded James Rodriguez and cited he will win the Golden Boot award. He also praised Manuel Neuer in Germany`s victory.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Neymar is out for the rest of the tournament. How big a blow is it for Brazil?
It`s a massive blow. He has been the centre-stage of the team and the play revolved around him. Without him, they will lack the extra threat. It was a good win for Brazil but it will be interesting to watch how they play without Neymar.
Will James Rodriguez get the Golden Boot award?
He has been the only player to score in every match. Six goals and that is a big thing for the forward. Lionel Messi, Neymar all have four goals but Neymar is out and looks like Messi will not be able to catch him. Therefore yes he will surely get the Golden Boot.
How do you feel for Colombia and James Rodriguez?
It`s bad when you see them bow out. They played well and being a South American team, had good crowd support. Rodriguez performed well for them and now when you don`t see a strong team like them, you feel bad.
What are your takes of the match between Germany and France?
Both teams were defensively very strong. They made a cautious start to the game. The heat factor too played its part on these European giants. Germany played really well. France got some chances but couldn`t take them. Same goes for Germany. It was a beautiful header by Mats Hummels and he performed exceptionally well.
How influential was Manuel Neuer?
Neuer made some really outstanding saves. He is an important goalkeeper and saved his team. Even during the end, Benzema`s shot was parried off.
What does Germany need to do against Brazil?
Germany need to score more. Apart from the match against Portugal, they haven`t fired well. They haven`t looked very convincing. They have created enough chances but their conversion rate has been poor. They need to get that right. They have played good brand of football overall.
Tears in Rodriguez`s eyes. How sad the camp must have been?
It`s a part of the game. You celebrate after a victory and the environment gets sad when you lose.
What do you think of this French team?
France really played well. In the 2010 World Cup, they were dismal. They had no unity. But this time, they looked like a different force. They have a young squad. And remember they didn`t have Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri. The future looks good for them. They have a strong team and can look to build on this team.
What are your predictions for the matches to be played today?
Argentina vs Belgium promises to be the best match of the tournament. Messi will find it difficult as Belgium have a very good defence. The Red Devils have a strong team and can cause problems for Argentina. I feel Belgium will win the match. On the other hand, there is no guarantee Netherlands will go through easily. Costa Rica have beaten good teams and have achieved lots so far. Win or lose, they will feel they have done enough. I go with Netherlands. I feel they should win this tie.