This is going to be increasingly intriguing as Colombia are my dark horses to do well in this World Cup, while African side Ivory Coast are a strong side both on paper and on the pitch - these two teams will expect to qualify for the knock-out rounds regardless of the result today.
Here are the team line-ups for the match today, the first of 3 matches on Day 8 of the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Colombia: Ospina, Armero, Yepes, Zapata, Zuniga, Sanchez, Aguilar, Ibarbo, James Rodriguez, Cuadrado and Gutierrez.
Subs: Vargas, Arias, Carbonero, Guarin, Mejia, Balanta, Adrian Ramos, Quintero, Jackson Martinez, Valdes and Mondragon.
Ivory Coast: Barry, Boka, Bamba, Zokora, Aurier, Die, Tiote, Gervinho, Gradel, Yaya Toure and Bony.
Subs: Gbohouo, Viera, Kolo Toure, Bolly, Akpa Akpro, Kalou, Drogba, Ya Konan, Diomande, Djakpa, Sio and Mande.
16:50 - I am not going to make any predictions as to which team will prevail (if any) in this match, but this promises to be an intriguing watch for the neutral.
16:51 - PLAYER WATCH:
Serge Aurier, James Rodriguez, Yaya Toure and Juan Cuadrado.
16:55 - National anthems time. Colombia first, and it's clear to see that the majority of the support is for the South American side.
16:58 - Both anthems completed, and the match is about to get underway. English referee Howard Webb is officiating today, let's hope he has a good game.
17:02 - The referee blows his whistle to start the game! Here we go!
0: Great weather conditions, impressive stadium and a good atmosphere around the ground. No excuses.
1: Remember, both teams won their opening fixtures in the group - Colombia comprehensively beat Greece 3-0 while Ivory Coast came from behind to beat Japan 2-1.
2: Colombia lead the group based on goal difference, but I would fully expect both sides to progress through to the knock-out rounds which promise to be special. Reminder that Holland and Chile have already sealed their place in the Last 16.
4: Ivory Coast go on the early attack with Aurier on the flank, he attempts to find his team-mate who is closed down well by Monaco wonderkid James Rodriguez.
5: Half-chance for Colombia results in an effort going wide by striker Teofilo Gutierrez, after an attempted long through ball from Cuadrado is fed through, the striker lashes at the ball under pressure from the approaching Ivorian defence and his effort trickles wide.
6: A big inflatable ball lands on the pitch, near the centre circle as Howard Webb stops play.
James Rodriguez jogs towards the ball and punches the ball flat before removing the ball and placing it onto the touchline. Drop-ball, the ball is given to the Ivory Coast goalkeeper.
11: The resulting set-piece is whipped into the box well but Colombia deal with the danger as goalkeeper David Ospina punches the ball clear.
12: Colombia have the chance to go on the counter attack, as Ivory Coast do not have enough men back to defend. Cuadrado calls for the ball on the far side, unmarked but the pass is delayed slightly and gives the Ivorians enough time to track back. Zokora is the man to eventually clear the danger.
14: Colombia free-kick taken quickly by James Rodriguez after Cuadrado is fouled in mid-air by Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote.
Tiote tries to argue his cause, Howard Webb has dealt with him a few times in the Premier League and waves away his complaint.
15: Great through ball by Rodriguez across the flank into the path of Ibarbo who chases after the through ball, but he is not quick enough to latch onto the pass as it goes out for an Ivory Coast goal-kick.
16: Good sliding challenge by Zokora to slide in and clear the danger out for a corner after Cuadrado runs down the flank and crosses a delivery into the box for his team-mates to run into.
17: It was vital that Zokora cleared that, there were a few Colombians behind him there and they would have had a clear goalscoring opportunity if he was not there to clear. Cuadrado fouled again as Colombia get a moment to push more players forward and attempt to break the deadlock.
18: It has certainly been all-Colombia in the past 10 minutes; does not help that Ivory Coast have been giving away needless fouls though.
20: Cameras show there is a section of the crowd that are just Ivory Coast supporters, but apart from that they are being drowned out by approximately 50,000 Colombians in the ground in Brasilla.
21: Good sliding block by Boka to deny the run of Cuadrado, who ran into the box with the ball at his feet but was halted in his tracks. Colombia corner.
22: The resulting corner is taken by Rodriguez, the swerve on the ball confuses the goalkeeper who manages to parry the ball out as the Ivorian defence clear.
24: Tiote has an ambitious effort from around 25 yards out towards goal, but his resulting shot rises above the goal and over the bar.
26: Good defensive work by Colombia to swarm men around Ivory Coast whenever they have the ball in their half.
27: CHANCE! Counter attacking football at its best from Colombia; they do well to dispossess Tiote and Gervinho of the ball before a long through ball from Cuadrado finds Rodriguez running on the left flank.
The youngster finds a good direct pass into the area for striker Teofilo Gutierrez, who rushes his shot at goal and mis-hits the ball completely, out for a goal-kick. Could have been 1-0!
31: Good defensive work again from Colombia, this time by Armero and Cuadrado in quick succession. The latter does well to tackle Manchester City defensive midfielder Yaya Toure off the ball as he attempts to go on one of his famous lung-busting runs in the midfield, and Toure goes down under the challenge.
32: He's limping after being dispossessed off the ball, either he's annoyed at the fact that no foul was given (even though I must stress it was a clean challenge) or he is genuinely injured.
33: Wouldn't be the first time for the injury-prone powerhouse.
35: Colombia have had their fair share of possession and half-chances, based on how quickly they get into counter-attacking positions.
36: Ivory Coast have a corner after Serey Die has an ambitious effort blocked on the edge of the area by AC Milan defender Cristian Zapata.
37: The corner comes of nothing as Colombia clear the danger, go on the attack again but Zokora does well to deal with the situation before falling to the turf.
38: Zokora gradually gets to his feet, but not before Howard Webb stops play momentarily to check whether the former Tottenham man was okay to continue. Replays show that he fell awkwardly, but he's okay.
39: Great sliding tackle by defender Mario Yepes to recover as Ivory Coast attempt to get a shot on-target.
42: A half-chance for Ivory Coast goes begging, winger Max Gradel weaves past his marker before attempting to shoot - before his effort is blocked.
44: Ivory Coast continue the pressure as Colombia stay firm at the back.
45: The fourth official has signalled for just the one minute of stoppage time to be played.
45+1: HALF-TIME -
0-0 draw at half-time, and Colombia have played the better of the two sides at the break. No goals to show for their hard work though, Ivory Coast have not been involved in the match for the most part until the last 5 minutes or so of the first-half.
18:06 - The referee blows his whistle to start the second period of the match.
45: No substitutions for either side as the second-half gets underway.
48: Gervinho tries to win a penalty after the ball goes out of play for a goal-kick, he goes down inside the area but nothing is given, a clear dive.
52: Ibarbo is limping uncomfortably and is going to be replaced, he cannot continue -
COLOMBIA: Victor Ibarbo OFF, Juan Quintero ON
54: A strong foul by Zokora on Cuadrado as the Colombians get forward, and the referee Howard Webb is getting out a card for his troubles aswell. Yellow it is for defender Didier Zokora, and he is not happy.
55: Now I can see why he's unhappy, Zokora will now miss the last fixture of the group stage against Greece.
57: Ivory Coast have come alive in the second-half, just as they did in their opening fixture against Japan. 6 shots on goal, and the possession stats have shifted in their favour.
58: OFF THE CROSSBAR! Colombia with a quick change of pace, Cuadrado hits the crossbar after weaving past Boka and shaping to shoot from the near post.
60: Ivory Coast SUB:
Wilfried Bony OFF
Didier Drogba ON
Fresh legs for Ivory Coast, Bony has not been able to do much today and Drogba comes on around the same time he did last game; to good effect (he came on, they scored twice in two minutes consequently afterwards)
63: GOAL! And Colombia have broken the deadlock. A power header in the middle of the area from an unlikely source, Monaco wonderkid James Rodriguez pops up unmarked to powerfully head the ball into the roof of the net.
|Rodriguez with an accurate header past Barry into the top corner to break the deadlock|
|Celebrating his second goal in two games; after a continued spell of counter attacking football|
66: Ivory Coast SUB:
Max Gradel OFF
Salomon Kalou ON
68: Wasted set-piece from Ivory Coast, as Yaya Toure has a free-kick blocked by the wall and Colombia can clear.
70: GOAL! Colombia make it 2-0! They go on the counter attack and punish Ivory Coast after a wasteful corner!
Gutierrez runs forward, a one-two pass with Rodriguez before passing across the box towards substitute Juan Quintero who cooly slots the ball underneath goalkeeper Boubacar Barry to double the lead with 20 minutes to go.
72: Colombia SUB:
Pablo Armero OFF
Santiago Arias ON
73: GOAL! Suddenly back in the game! Roma winger Gervinho does well to cut inside past two Colombia defenders on the flank before running into the area, weaving past Sanchez before drilling a strike at the near post!
The goalkeeper Ospina arguably should have dealt with the shot, especially given the angle that it was coming at him, but it's 2-1 and the crowd are now silent. Tense finale ahead perhaps?
74: It's as if they need to concede before they realise how they need to perform better - they did the same against Japan and they have 15 minutes or so to get back into a match that they arguably do not deserve to be winning at the moment.
75: Meanwhile, the Ivorians are making a substitution -
Serey Die OFF, Mathis Bolly ON
80: Ivory Coast are doing well to push men forward into the box, they are piling the pressure on their opponents.
82: Colombia are not looking comfortable in defence, they are eager to get the danger away and counter attack as they have done throughout the game.
84: Kalou with an audacious effort on the edge of the area, scruffy contact by the Lille forward whose effort is caught by
goalkeeper David Ospina.
85: Howard Webb stops play momentarily as Colombia defender Mario Yepes is caught in a clash of knees in the build-up to a potential Ivory Coast chance.
86: Physio are coming onto the pitch to treat Yepes, but Colombia will be hopeful that he can continue as they are out of substitutions and will be reduced to 10 men if he is unable to stay on the pitch.
87: He eventually gets to his feet, and he will stay on. The 38-year-old defender grimaces as he limps away but he will continue to play. Just minutes left.
89: An ambitious effort as a result of an advantage being played, as Cuadrado is taken out by Tiote near the centre circle, the ball falls to substitute Juan Quintero who takes a long-range effort from 45 yards out as he sees goalkeeper Boubacar Barry off his line.
90: Barry reacts quickly enough to parry the ball off the line as he gets in his goal - Howard Webb brings the play back for a foul after Colombia protest profusely to halt the game momentarily.
90+1: The fourth official has signalled for 4 minutes of stoppage time, and Ivory Coast are obviously not happy.
90+2: And they run around Howard Webb after a drop-ball is purposely cleared away towards the goal - a throw-in.
90+3: Another late charge from Ivory Coast, but it looks like they will be unable to do it. Colombia defending with passion, the supporters getting behind their team.
Colombia with a deserved win, but they had to do it the long way after a 2-1 victory today.
Goals from James Rodriguez, Juan Quintero and Gervinho made for an interesting spectacle to watch as a neutral; and Colombia will progress through to the knock-out rounds by tonight IF Japan fail to beat Greece today.
|Colombia are on the verge of the knock-out rounds, after another impressive performance|
MY MOTM: James Rodriguez.
He worked hard throughout to help his team-mates, providing service with a lot of probing through balls in the opposition half, and he was a handful for the Ivorian defence.
Scored a goal, and could have assisted twice if his team-mates had taken their chances.
Look at his heat map, says it all really.
|Busy bee: James Rodriguez worked hard around the pitch during the game, and is my MOTM|