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′
Nov 22, 2014, 6:45 PM EST
Rooney: “We weathered the storm” in 2-1 victory over Arsenal.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:15 PM EST
His squad controlling possession and gathering a fair amount of chances on goal, Arsene Wenger believes his side deserved a better result against Manchester United.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:03 PM EST
One game is a rematch of the 3-3 draw that left Luis Suarez in tears, but both Palace and Liverpool have much bigger things to worry about.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EST
All the action from the PL’s seven games on Saturday.
Nov 22, 2014, 4:45 PM EST
Elsewhere, USMNT defenders Timmy Chandler (right) and John Anthony Brooks picked up wins in 90 minutes each for their clubs.
Nov 22, 2014, 4:25 PM EST
Despite an wonderful 1-0 result over QPR to keep their winning run alive, Alan Pardew feels the pain of Ryan Taylor’s sudden injury.
Nov 22, 2014, 3:55 PM EST
Barcelona’s diminutive legend is really good at soccer.
Nov 22, 2014, 3:38 PM EST
This season, he has all his players and no excuses. So The Special One is a little ticked off that his Blues aren’t pouring forth goals to match their dominant play.
Nov 22, 2014, 3:35 PM EST
Irvine: “We actually went a goal down to a goal which I thought was offside and that makes life very difficult here.”
Nov 22, 2014, 3:32 PM EST
Red Devils surge to victory away at Arsenal, as LVG’s masterplan is taking shape.
Nov 22, 2014, 2:51 PM EST
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Nov 22, 2014, 2:34 PM EST
What did we learn from United’s big win at the Emirates? Plenty. But here’s three things.
Nov 22, 2014, 2:28 PM EST
A testy affair that could’ve gotten Jack Wilshere a red card instead got him injured, and Arsenal had no finish at the Emirates.
Nov 22, 2014, 1:00 PM EST
Klopp has been at Dortmund since 2008 when he arrived from Mainz, and would likely have his choice of jobs should Dortmund let him walk.
Nov 22, 2014, 12:14 PM EST
Foxes and Black Cats cancel each other out at the King Power.
Nov 22, 2014, 12:06 PM EST
Bafetimbi Gomis should’ve put Swansea City level five minutes from time, but he tipped the ball over Hart and wide of the goal.
Nov 22, 2014, 12:04 PM EST
Clarets stun Potters with first away win of the season.
Nov 22, 2014, 12:01 PM EST
Arsenal is in sixth place, one point ahead of Manchester United.
Nov 22, 2014, 11:58 AM EST
Win puts Newcastle into 4th in the Premier League after spending the first 2 months of the season in the relegation zone, where QPR remains.
Nov 22, 2014, 11:57 AM EST
Toffees end West Ham’s unbeaten run, as Osman’s late goal proves the difference.
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