Jul 4, 2014, 6:02 PM EST
The host nation soared early and locked down late, providing an exciting but nervy 2-1 victory against an in-form Colombian side.
Thiago Silva picked up a goal inside the opening 10 minutes, and David Luiz scored an absolute stunner off a second half free-kick to put Brazil through to the semifinals against Germany.
James Rodriguez stole fans hearts throughout the World Cup, but was silenced for much of the game by a Brazilian midfield doubling as a brick wall.
With Luiz Gustavo suspended on yellow card accumulation, Fernandinho and Paulinho held down the fort in the middle and destroyed plenty of Colombian build-up play.
The final minutes were nervy after Rodriguez converted a penalty, but as Colombia flooded men forward it wasn’t enough to draw level late.
The first real chance fell to the hosts, and they cashed in. Fernandinho released Neymar with a great through ball, and it earned Brazil a corner. Neymar’s ball flew in long to the back post over everyone jumping to connect, but Thiago Silva made a run to the back post, beating converted an easy tap-in.
Silva wasn’t just a goal-scorer for his country. The captain was an iron-clad defender throughout the match, leading his team at the back with gobs of clearances, blocks, and distribution.
Colombia’s only good chance of the half came in the 11th minute when Juan Cuadrado picked up a loose ball in the box and rifled on goal, but it went just wide of the near post.
It was all Brazil from then. Hulk picked up a few first-half chances from a tight angle, but none of them found the target. A shot of his in the 20th minute was saved by David Ospina and the rebound fell to Oscar. The number-10 blasted on net, but Ospina dove and acrobatically grasped the attempt to end the chance.
The referee’s performance left much to be desired, with a pair of weird moments defining his first half. A group of opposing players got upset with each other, and as the referee went to break up the scuffle, Brazil took the quick kick, but the distracted ref somehow let play continue.
In the 38th minute, a Colombian free kick at the top of the box saw the ref use his temporary spray, but as James Rodriguez looked to take the kick, Neymar came charging out of the wall clearly in violation of the 10-yard rule, but the official again swallowed his whistle.
There were 25 first-half fouls, but not a single yellow card produced.
The second half saw Brazil lock down even harder defensively, but they had a few opportunities, and they grabbed one.
As the fouling continued, the referee continued to swallow not only his whistle but his yellow card as well. He finally produced one in the 64th minute to Thiago Silva for a silly challenge on Ospina as he attempted to complete a drop kick.
Rodriguez puzzlingly earned one as well – for his first foul – for a slide-tackle of Hulk on 68 minutes. David Luiz took the free kick and produced an absolute goalazo, smashing the ball into the top corner past a diving Ospina for a 2-0 lead.
The goal actually energized the game again, after it had become more of a midfield battle than the attacking affair we saw in the first half.
Colombia poured men forward, and it earned them a penalty with 10 minutes to go. Rodriguez released substitute striker Carlos Bacca, and Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar scythed down the attacker, earning just a yellow card. Rodriguez took the penalty, and wrong-footed Cesar for the score.
Having pulled one back, the entirety of the final 10 minutes was Colombian attack. Bacca nearly equalized on a header just two minutes after the goal, but it flashed across the face harmlessly.
Brazil has some questions going forward into their semifinal with Germany. Neymar was carried off on a stretcher in the dying minutes after taking a heavy knee into his back, and Thiago Silva is suspended after receiving the second yellow of his tournament.
Brazil – Julio Cesar, T. Silva, Luiz, Maicon, Marcelo; Fernandinho, Paulinho (Hernanes 86′), Oscar; Fred, Neymar (Henrique 88′), Hulk (Ramires 83′).
Goals: Silva 7′, Luiz 68′
Colombia – Ospina; Zuñiga, Zapata, Yepes, Armero; Sanchez, Rodriguez, Cuadrado (Quintero 80′), Guarin, Ibarbo (Ramos 46′); Gutierrez (Bacca 70′).
Goals: Rodriguez (pen) 80′
Dec 22, 2014, 8:30 AM EST
No need for a Latvian passport, as Yedlin is granted UK work permit.
Dec 22, 2014, 7:55 AM EST
Geoff on how to stop Chelsea, marking Hazard and the busy festive period in the Premier League.
Dec 21, 2014, 11:59 PM EST
Antoine Griezmann breaks out with three goals in Atletico’s 4-1 result over Athletic Bilbao.
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Dec 21, 2014, 10:21 PM EST
Cristiano Ronaldo has made headlines twice today, for erecting a statue of himself and claiming Real Madrid could repeat in the Champions League.
Dec 21, 2014, 9:07 PM EST
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Dec 21, 2014, 8:17 PM EST
Tim Howard converses about his recently released autobiography, “The Keeper.”
Dec 21, 2014, 7:40 PM EST
Jeremy Menez has done a fantastic job as AC Milan’s primary attacker, and he’s primarily aiming for the French national team call-up.
Dec 21, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
Ally McCoist has left Scottish Championship team Rangers, as the club has recognized the former star striker is now on “gardening leave.”
Dec 21, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
Catch up on Premier League Round 17 action from this Sunday.
Dec 21, 2014, 4:55 PM EST
According to Brendan Rogers, Liverpool’s prime attacker, Daniel Sturridge, will make his return from a multi-month injury in early January.
Dec 21, 2014, 4:05 PM EST
Sunderland winger Adam Johnson on game-winner and Tyne-Wear derby triumphs: “Three years in a row, they must hate me here!”
Dec 21, 2014, 3:39 PM EST
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Dec 21, 2014, 3:12 PM EST
With polarizing halves separating the teams, Arsene Wenger said a draw was the correct result based on performance.
Dec 21, 2014, 2:29 PM EST
Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to bring a grudge with him to Morocco.
Dec 21, 2014, 1:44 PM EST
With Newcastle yielding late, Alan Pardew thinks he may have left his team a little too exposed as the clock ticked towards the final minute.
Dec 21, 2014, 1:08 PM EST
Martin Skrtel returned from a nasty injury and took full advantage of the resulting stopptage time.
Dec 21, 2014, 11:58 AM EST
A day to forget for the American central defender in Germany’s top flight.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:26 AM EST
The boyhood Newcastle fan scored at St. James Park for the third year in a row as Sunderland stole the Tyne-Wear derby late.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:16 AM EST
Raheem Sterling looks to be the lone attacking option for Liverpool as Brendan Rodgers has left both his available strikers on the bench.
Dec 21, 2014, 8:52 AM EST
A magnetizing first touch leads to a meaningless but nonetheless beautiful goal by the man who gives us magic weekly.
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