Day 23 of the World Cup, and back to some football being played after the 2 day break. 2 places in the semi-finals at stake tonight.

Fixtures for 4th July quarter final stage.

France v Germany. Kick off at 5pm BST, live on BBC 1 and played at the Estadio do Maracana, Rio De Janerio
Brazil v Colombia. Kick off at 9pm BST, live on ITV and being played at the Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza

Referees appointments
4th July – http://www.exeweb.com/2014/07/02/brazil-2014-referee-appointments-for-4-july/
5th July – http://www.exeweb.com/2014/07/03/brazil-2014-referee-appointments-for-5th-july/

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Today’s Stat

USA‘s Michael Bradley has covered the most distance in the world cup, 54.7km

World Cup 2014. Brazil vs Mexico

News

Germany‘s Andre Schurrle on today’s game with France, speaking to FIFA.com

France have some fantastic individual players like [Paul] Pogba, [Karim] Benzema and [Mathieu] Valbuena. They have a lot of quality and can create goals from any situation. We know their strengths, but we also know ours.

The Chelsea player continued:-

It’s a childhood dream to be at a World Cup here in Brazil. Now we’ve got to show what we’re made of against France in the quarter-final. Anyone would love to be part of a match like that!

Against France we’ve got to perform better. We’ve just got to concentrate and play well. If we can do that, we can beat the French too.

ecuador fans

The French goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris spoke to FIFA.com about his opposite number in the  German team Manuel Neuer as the best in the business, describing him as a ‘keeper-sweeper’.

When the team pushes so high up the pitch, you have to be able to play further forward and perform the role of a ‘libero’.

Neuer is certainly the most complete goalkeeper in the world and is capable of doing that role. He did it remarkably against Algeria.

(c) http://www.copa2014.gov.br/
(c) http://www.copa2014.gov.br/

Colombia defender Pablo Armero will not be fooled in to think Brazil are vulnerable. Brazil have not lived up to expectations, failing to score against Mexico and needing penalties to get past Chile in the last round. Armero speaking to reporters ahead of the clash against Luis Felipe Scolari side explained:-

Brazil are not weak, it’s just that every team here wants to go as far as possible, we’ve seen that since the start of the World Cup. Every team wants to win and no-one is hiding. Also, they were up against Chile, who have great players.

We are working so we can go as far as possible. From the first game we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, our attitude has been to go step by step. We haven’t come here to go for a walk in the park. We’ve come here to give everything and go for glory.

Pablo also spoke of Brazil’s star man Neymar:-

To nullify Neymar the whole team needs to help each other out in trying to mark him. We need to stay united and not lose our focus. We are a compact team and we know that when we play together we get results.

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Brazil‘s captain Thiago Silva has responded to criticism of the squad and their ability to cope with the pressure, after many of the squad were in tears after their round of 16 win over Chile. There has also been criticism of Silva’s leadership abilities. The Paris Saint-Germain defender spoke on Thursday saying:-

I think we are good psychologically. We are doing what we love to do. There was a lot of pressure to win that match so we know we had to give all we had, but when you do things with a lot of will and desire there is no way to not be emotional.

When those things are said we have to look away. The leader is beside me, he is the commander and backs me so I don’t care what people from the outside say.

I just need to think about my job. This is the way I am, I am very emotional and this a very natural thing. This doesn’t affect me at any time on the pitch.

I don’t think the emotion makes anything more difficult. I have overcome difficult moments. I had tuberculosis and had my life at risk, but I am a champion on and off the pitch and I show maturity and respect.

By Hants