Our man in Brazil - World Cup diary with Alastair Yeomans

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We are on our travels again, leaving Rio first thing for a three-hour flight to Fortaleza on the north-east coast of Brazil.

The host nation is due to play Colombia the next day in the quarter-finals of the World Cup and the country is in a state of high excitement.

Television is saturated with every morsel of information about the team – the team physiotherapist is mobbed by camera crews searching for news of star player Neymar.

For us, it’s another change in temperature. It’s still Summer in Fortaleza, hitting 27 degrees when we landed.

But throughout the tournament there are always reminders that this country is still raw, sometimes dangerous.

Reports of tourists being robbed at knifepoint in Rio are almost becoming commonplace.

We hear today that our main driver Gustavo, with whom we have become firm friends, had his car stolen from outside his house after he had dropped us at the airport.

And the news is showing a flyover has collapsed in Belo Horizonte – where we are due to go on Sunday to prepare for one of the semi-finals.

There are two dead and many injured. It’s a sobering thought.

Friday 4th July

Match day and travelling to the stadium is an experience – Traffic is almost grid-locked and, six hours before kick-off, fans are already lining the highways of Fortaleza.

The stadium holds 63,000 but there will be a massive street party across the city, and probably the whole country.

Inside the stadium, the atmosphere before kick-off is reaching fever pitch. The pictures of the Brazilian coach carrying the players to the ground are shown on the big screen and are received with a tumultuous roar.

An armed military helicopter circles the ground to keep an eye on the crowd inside and outside the stadium.

Both Brazil and Colombia usually wear a yellow strip but the visitors have to change for the day.

However, the supporters sport their favourite colour and the stadium is bathed in yellow.

The Brazilian anthem is sung with an almost primeval fervour, as if the whole country of 200 million is singing as one. Remarkable.

And the fans prayers were answered as Brazil progressed to the semi-finals on a wave of emotion, albeit with a scare late in the game.

We left the ground knowing that no one would get much sleep - Brazil celebrates.