Fresh off their runs at the Copa América, fútbol powerhouses Brazil and Colombia will face off in an international friendly September 6 at Hard Rock Stadium. Brazil dominated the Copa América this summer, beating Peru 3-1 in the final match and reestablishing itself as a threat to all opposing teams. Colombia fell short of the semis after losing to Chile 5-4 in penalties, thus robbing fans of a possible Brazil-Colombia final. Now the two teams will settle the score in Miami.
Both squads are on the rise in the FIFA rankings. And both have a rich soccer rivalry dating to 1945: Brazil holds the edge over Los Cafeteros with 19 wins, three losses, and nine draws. Brazil and Colombia will head into Hard Rock Stadium with recent bad blood, so now is a good time to visit the top matchups between the two.
Here are the five best matches between Brazil and Colombia.
Neymar goes down. This 2014 World Cup match saw Neymar suffer a major injury, which likely caused Brazil to fall short of its championship dreams. With a date to the semis on the line, Neymar was tackled hard by Colombia's Juan Camilo Zuniga, which led to a tournament-ending fractured vertebra for the Brazilian star. Brazil would win the match 2-0, but the injury would prove fateful when the team later endured a 7-1 at-home shellacking courtesy of Germany. The match also included a dazzling goal by David Luiz.
Neymar’s golaso in Miami. Fresh off a tournament-ending injury he had suffered against Colombia in the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals (which led to Brazil ultimately falling 7-1 to Germany in the semis), Neymar returned to form at Miami's then-named Sun Life Stadium. His gorgeous 22-foot strike gave Brazil the 1-0 victory in front of 73,429 rowdy fans. The goal came at the 83rd minute, when Neymar launched a free kick into the upper right corner of the net, giving Brazil the win.
El Pibe leads the way. The early-to-mid-'90s were the golden years for Colombia as Brazil began to build its juggernaut. Star player Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama led the Colombians against the up-and-coming Brazilian squad, which included budding stars Mauro Silva and Rai. Colombia knocked out Brazil in a 2-0 victory behind goals from Antony de Avila and Arnoldo Iguarán.
Neymar loses it. With bad blood brewing between the teams since Neymar’s World Cup injury, things got crazy the following summer at the Copa América. Colombia came into the match with a strategy to play the striker physically to frustrate him. The ploy worked, and Colombia wound up winning the match 1-0. But those frustrations erupted after the final whistle blew. Neymar struck a ball at Colombian Pablo Armero and elbowed Carlos Bacca. The move sparked a fight between the two teams, which culminated in Neymar and Bacca getting red-carded. The confrontation led to a four-match suspension for Neymar, marking the second time he was forced out of a major tournament early by Colombia.
Peak Ronaldo. Fresh off Brazil's World Cup championship in 2002, international superstar Ronaldo led his team into Barranquilla in a World Cup qualifier against a dangerous Colombian team. Ronaldo had not only led Brazil to the world championship the prior summer, but also led the tournament with eight goals, including one during the 2-0 World Cup final win over Germany. With Brazil's sights set on defending its title in 2006, Ronaldo — regarded as the best player in the world at the time — was in peak form, displaying his brilliant play in yet another heated match between the teams. Ronaldo scored the first goal and made a beautiful assist for the second go-ahead goal. Brazil would go on to beat Colombia 2-1.
Brazil vs. Colombia. 8 p.m. Friday, September 6, at Hard Rock Stadium, 347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens; hardrockstadium.com. Tickets start at $40.