(Reuters) – Brazil are facing “unbearable” pressure to win the World Cup in style, but have a suspect defence and could well lose to confident Colombia in their quarter-final today, former England coach Glenn Hoddle believes.
“The pressure must be unbearable for Phil (Luiz Felipe) Scolari’s team, because not only do they have to win this tournament, they have to win it in a certain way,” Hoddle said.
Hosts Brazil remain favourites to win a sixth World Cup, but Colombia have been a revelation, shrugging off star striker Radamel Falcao’s absence to sail through to the last eight with four wins in four games, and 11 goals scored. Hoddle forecast a defeat for Brazil in Fortaleza, an unthinkable prospect for their fans.
“It’s tough for them, because although they appear to have a good defensive record, teams have been able to put Brazil on the back foot and I feel their defence will ultimately prove to be their Achilles Heel,” the player-turned-pundit said in a column for British bookmaker William Hill (www.williamhill.com).
“In Dani Alves, Marcelo and David Luiz they have three out of their four defenders who don’t defend! Or simply can’t defend! Only Thiago Silva is a dedicated defender and he defends by instinct. Eventually they are going to be found out.”
Despite having won the World Cup before, Scolari may find the weight of expectation too much for his charges, Hoddle said.
“It’s a big ask, the pressures couldn’t possibly be more intense, and the team continue to rely on Neymar,” he said, contrasting that with Colombia’s team work.
“Colombia are a really, really good team, wanting to play the game in the right way, with a lovely balance between attack and defence,” he added, singling out James Rodriguez, the tournament’s top scorer on five goals.