Colombia is about to play the biggest match in the team's World Cup history. Brazil is the favorite, but pressure is high on the team to roll on to the quarterfinals at home.
Their showdown Friday may be the most anticipated contest yet of the 2014 World Cup, and all manner of predictions, expectations and rumors are flying. The match seems to be up in the air, as Colombia continues to impress and Brazil's emotional state looks a bit shaky.
But the truth is that these two nations have long histories, and there is much information that can be gleaned from their pasts, both recent and long-forgotten.
First off, Brazil has long had the upper hand over Colombia in international soccer. Friday's is the first group of eight match Colombia has ever reached, and the team hasn't even qualified for the World Cup since 1998. The Colombians have never done better than the round of 16, which they reached in 1990. The match against Brazil is by far the most important in the team's history.
Brazil, on the other hand, is a soccer powerhouse, as is fitting for a country that treats soccer as a religion. Of the 19 past World Cups, Brazil has won five, and is the world's lone team to qualify for every single tournament. The big number for Brazil is 25. The team has only been beaten once in the last 25 matches, versus Switzerland last summer. And the team has only lost to Colombia twice in their 25 contests, in a 1985 friendly and the 1991 Copa America.
Still, the two teams have drawn in their past four games, and the Colombians look impressive headed into Friday's match, riding James Rodriguez's prodigious five goals and two assists so far this Cup to the group of eight. And the Brazilians are under tremendous pressure that some observers say has gone to their heads and could overwhelm them as they try to capture a championship at home, where they haven't been defeated since a 3-1 loss to Peru in the 1975 Copa America.
Though there are many lessons history can teach us, we will have to wait until history is made yet again on Friday to find out who reigns supreme in South America.