This Friday (04.07), Fortaleza bids farewell to the World Cup with the possibility of seeing Brazil book a place in the semi-final for the first time in 12 years, when they last won the tournament in 2002 in Japan and South Korea. The match against Colombia, scheduled to kick off at 05:00pm, will be the last World Cup match to be held at the Castelão Arena and the first ever time the South American sides meet in the history of the competition. In order to win, Brazil will have to see off Colombia, who has had a great campaign so far (winning all their games) and stop midfielder James Rodrigues, the tournament's top scorer, with five goals.
Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari praised Brazil’s opponents, but said that no special one on one marking will be done on Colombia's rising star. “I don’t see any teams doing one on one marking at the World Cup. And we’re not going to it, it will be done by sector. Colombia's players have good tactical discipline and a lot of skill. It will be a great football match. We respect them, but we know that we also have a lot of quality, which will present them with problems”, said Big Phil.
For the match at the Castelão Arena, Brazil will not be able to field holding midfielder Luis Gustavo, who picked up his second yellow card. In a press conference, Big Phil said that former Corinthians player Paulinho will be his replacement.
Defender and team captain Thiago Silva said that he expects an open game due to the offensive nature of both teams. “It will be a great game and we hope to gift our fans with goals this time”, stated the defender, referring to the goalless draw against Mexico at the same venue during the tournament's group stage.
Manager José Pekerman praised Brazil's style and stated that the Colombian players are very happy to face the World Cup hosts. “Brazil has won the World Cup five times and it has great footballing history. Everyone admires their style of play, their players and managers. Playing Brazil makes the players very happy. We know that it’ll be very difficult, but at the same time we're ready for a great game”, said the manager.
The Castelão Arena has hosted five World Cup matches until now. In four of them, the favourite did not win – Uruguay lost 3-1 to Costa Rica, Brazil drew 0-0 with Mexico, Germany drew 2-2 with Ghana and the Ivory Coast lost 2-1 to Greece. Last Sunday, Holland confirmed their favouritism and beat Mexico 2-1 in the round of 16, coming back from behind with goals by Sneijder and Huntelaar.
Out of the 60.5 thousand tickets sold for the Brazil and Colombia match at the Castelão Arena, at least 47.5 thousand of them were purchased by tourists. According to the Ceará State 2014 World Cup Special Secretariat (SECOPA), 27.5 thousand tickets were bought by Brazilian visitors and the other 20 thousand by foreign nationals. When countries where the tickets were issued are taken into consideration, the United States lead with 3.4 thousand tickets, followed by the UK (2.4 thousand) and Colombia (2 thousand).
Fortaleza’s urban mobility plan was widened to supply for fans going to the Castelão Arena to watch the Brazil and Colombia match. In all, 350 free buses will be put in operation for the general public, starting 11:00am. They will leave from seven car parks spread throughout the city - Parangaba Shopping Centre, the Jockey, the Iguatemi Shopping Centre and Via Sul, plus UFC’s Pici campus, Cambeba and Unifor -. At the beginning, the plan had anticipated 300 extra vehicles to transport fans to the stadium.
In addition to these, special lines will leave the Pinto Martins International Airport and the Abolição Avenue, making six stops between the Barão de Studart Avenue and the express way. The hotel sector (in the Beira-Mar region) will also have two lines in operation, taking people to the car park at the Iguatemi Shopping Centre.
To make their way back from the stadium, fans should board the buses where they stopped on their way to the ground. They should also pay attention to the lines' names, as they will make the return journey to the car parks.
The buses will operate up to four hours after the match has finished. The buses will drop passengers off at the Paulino Rocha, Silas Munguba and Alberto Craveiro Avenues, from where they will walk to the stadium.
Special vehicles will be made available for those watching the Brazil match at the Fan Fest at the Iracema beach. They leave from seven terminals in the city – Lagoa, Conjunto Cearpa, Papicu, Parangaba, Siqueira, Messejana and Antônico Bezerra.