Santiago, June 16 (IANS) Colombia midfielder James Rodriguez has lavished praise on Brazil captain Neymar ahead of the teams’ Copa America Group C clash on Wednesday.
The fixture at Santiago’s Estadio Monumental is a repeat of last year’s World Cup quarterfinal in Fortaleza, which Brazil won 2-1, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Don’t mistake this game for a rematch,” Rodriguez told reporters on Monday. “Neymar is at an incredible level, but they must play well to beat Colombia.
“In football you can win or lose. We always have to be together, with the same spirit we’ve always had.”
Colombia lost their first match of the tournament to Venezuela 1-0 on Sunday and Rodriguez was one of several players who performed below expectations.
Brazil also failed to impress, save for the individual brilliance of Neymar, in a 2-1 defeat of Peru.
The Barcelona forward headed in his team’s first goal and set up Douglas Costa’s winner with a superb through ball in the final minute of the match.
Rodriguez said his team still maintained hope of progressing to the tournament’s next phase.
“There are always bad games and bad afternoons,” Rodriguez said. “We must be united and calm. We must think about the next game and win.”
The 23-year-old added that he was not hindered by a shoulder problem that appeared to affect him against Venezuela.