FILE - In this June 19, 2014, file photo, Colombia's James Rodriguez, center, dances with teammates in celebration after scoring during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Ivory Coast at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil. The euphoria in soccer-mad Colombia is deafening, and wonderfully contagious, ahead of Fridayâ€™s do-or-die World Cup match against host Brazil. Not since Colombia drubbed Argentina 5-0 in a 1993 World Cup qualifier has the South American nation of 48 million been so enthralled by the beautiful game. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)
Colombia's James Rodriguez, left, dances as he celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Fabrizio Bensch, Pool)
FORTALEZA, Brazil — Colombia has been playing the exciting brand of football that Brazilians believe their own team should be playing at this World Cup.
They've also been dancing after goals, bringing a spirit of fun to the pitch. Fullback Camilo Zuniga puts it down to coach Jose Pekerman's philosophy of mixing amusement with responsibility.
Zuniga, who will be a key figure in marking Brazil forward Neymar in Friday's quarterfinal match, said Pekerman "helped us believe in ourselves."
"He drilled in our heads that we were good," Zuniga said. "He drilled into our heads that a Colombian with the ball should have fun, that he shouldn't have to play with pressure, but that it comes with responsibility."
Zuniga, who likes to attack down the flanks, said that the dancing is in the "Colombian blood." But he stressed that his first duty as a defender will be to contain Neymar and help the team keep a clean sheet.
Colombian goal celebrations have been choreographed dances, including salsa, with up to 10 players moving in lines together. And there's been plenty of them — Colombia's 11 goals in four games is second only to Netherlands in the tournament. James Rodriguez has scored a tournament-leading five goals and has been one of the stars of the tournament. Neymar, the Brazilian forward who could rightly feel like he's carrying the weight of the host nation, has scored half of Brazil's eight goals.
When asked if the dancing after goals bothered him because he's an Argentine and may not be used to it, Pekerman said he wasn't bothered in the least.
"It's joyful, but sincere," he said, adding that he lived in Colombia for many years as a player and one of his daughters was born there. "It's a way of the boys communicating in something that is a goal. They have this energy, I like it, but always with respect.
"It's something like a hug. It shouldn't bother anybody."
World Cup fans, including Brazilians, have taken a liking to Colombia's style of football and its dancing antics. But now Colombia will face Brazilian fans at Castelao Arena who will be booing them for the first time at the tournament.
"This is going to be a new situation for us," Pekerman said. "We have to deal with it. .. We hope to get quickly in the match to do what we've been doing so far."