Soccer

Brazil, Colombia to play at Hard Rock Stadium. Here’s what you need to know

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Five-time World Cup champion Brazil will play three matches at Hard Rock Stadium over the next four years, starting with a game against South American rival Colombia on Sept. 6 at 8 p.m.

The last time the teams played in Miami, in 2014, the match drew 73,429 fans, setting an attendance record for a soccer game in Florida. That was the fourth-largest crowd for a soccer match in the United States that year.

Brazil is ranked No. 3 in the world and is hosting the Copa America this summer. The team features some of the top players in the world such as Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Marcelo Vieira, Casemiro, and younger stars Fred and Gabriel Jesus.

Colombia is ranked 12th in the world, had a successful 2018 World Cup and recently signed new head coach Carlos Queiroz, who coached Iran in the last World Cup. “Los Cafeteros” are always entertaining, and their roster includes James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado, Juan Fernando Quintero and Yerry Mina.

“Brazil vs. Colombia is a mega match, and one we have been working on for quite some time,” said Todd Boyan, the Hard Rock Stadium Senior Vice President of Stadium Operations. “There are so many fans of both teams in this area, and it is a very exciting opportunity to have these two back at Hard Rock Stadium. It is a FIFA open date, so we expect both teams to bring their superstars.”

The stadium is also hosting Venezuela vs. Ecuador on June 1. Both teams will be preparing for Copa America.

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Venezuela went unbeaten in its last five 2018 World Cup qualifying matches, and has a lot of young talent. The team is using the Miami match as preparation for Copa America 2019. Among the players to watch are Josef Martinez (Atlanta FC), who broke the record for most goals scored in one Major League Soccer season (31), Salomon Rondon (Newcastle Premier League), Tomas Rincon (Torino of Italy) and Rolf Feltscher (LA Galaxy).

Ecuador is also relying on new talent. Its U20 national team was a surprise winner in CONMEBOL and qualified for the next U20 World Cup in Poland. Ecuador’s Copa America team national team is expected to include Enner Valencia, Christian Noboa, Jefferson Montero, and CONMEBOL U20 star Jordan Rezabala.

“There is a very large Venezuelan population here, and they came out for their game against Colombia last year, and we expect them again on June 1,” Boyan said. “[Dolphins owner] Stephen Ross has invested a lot into bringing soccer here, from El Clasico to the International Champions Cup, and international friendlies like these. We know how much fans here love soccer.”

Fans interested in buying tickets for the matches can register in advance during the pre-registration period from March 13-19 at HardRockStadium.com. By preregistering, fans will be granted access to buy tickets during a presale on March 20-21. The general public ticket on sale will take place on March 22 starting at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available on Ticketmaster.com.

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Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman has covered 14 Olympics, six World Cups, Wimbledon, U.S. Open, NCAA Basketball Tournaments, NBA Playoffs, and has been the University of Miami basketball beat writer for 20 years. She was born in Frederick, Md., and grew up in Miami.


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