On the 12th June, 32 countries from all over the world came to Brazil to take part in one of the most anticipated sporting contests of the year. Each and every one of these countries arrived carrying the hopes of their nation on their shoulders and the aspiration of lifting the Coupe du Monde in a country that has lifted the trophy more than any other.
Brazil have won the World Cup an impressive five times and are looking to add a sixth. But to do that they have to beat a Colombian side that are in such scintillating form that one would think they are the King of this year's samba party.
Colombia's surprise star player James Rodriguez has come to Brazil and stolen the show with his brilliant technique, superb skill and breathtaking goals. At 22 years of age Rodriguez has played like a well seasoned World Cup veteran who has lead and inspired his team in the fashion of Andrea Pirlo and Zinedine Zidane.
Colombia arrived to Brazil without the world renowned star striker Radamel Falcao and since Rodriguez scored in their opening game it seems that no one misses Falcao, even Colombia's faithful are entranced by the rhythm of Rodriguez's drum.
Neymar leading the dance
Meanwhile Brazil's Messiah Neymar has been doing his best to command the dance floor and remind everyone that his nation are the real Kings of the Samba dance. Since scoring in the opening game against Croatia Neymar has also displayed an inspired poise which has vindicated the faith of his home nation who remain fractured about their country's hosting duties.
The political tensions around Brazil's decision to host the World Cup are a further pressure on the hosting nation. A pressure that Brazil have to take in their stride in order to prevail. When they were awarded the tournament, Neymar pledged to play to inspire his nation and when Brazil face Colombia in Fortaleza next week Thursday, Neymar will need to play to inspire his team as though he were the son of Nike; the Greek goddess of Victory.
However no player or team could have done with divine intervention from a higher power than Cristiano Ronaldo and the English national team.
Ronaldo's tournament were hindered by two things; the tendinitis in his knee and his team's inadequacy. Sadly for Ronaldo, his knee could not be rectified on time and even with all the time in the world his team could never attain the standard he would need them to in order to put on a display that could make them victors. Even sadder still is the fact that the same can be said of England who do not even have a player of Ronaldo's calibre to take refuge, let alone inspiration to win a single game.
So as the sounds of the Samba drum go on all eyes are on the last of Europe's representatives - Holland who have made a lightning start to the tournament, Belgium who boast a wealth of talent and Germany who expect nothing less than to dance away from Rio mit the Coupe du Monde in tow.
Messi can inspire
Although the challenge in Argentina cannot be ignored because the quality of their squad and the wonder that is Lionel Messi could see the end of everyone's party should they emerge victorious especially on Brazil's sacred dance floor. But then again they could fall flat on their face should they lose against an unpredictable Nigeria.
The beauty of the World Cup and football in general is that with a bit of luck any of the teams can prevail to the next stage but real test of any team's mantle will be going to FIFA's "Mardi Gras" on the 13th of July and emerging as the real Lords of the Dance.
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