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′
Jan 31, 2015, 10:43 PM EST
Big Sam was quick to take the credit away from Liverpool and place the blame for Saturday’s loss on his own injury “crisis.”
Jan 31, 2015, 9:24 PM EST
Van Gaal remembers what happened last time his side led Leicester, and he learns his lessons the first time.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:30 PM EST
All of the day’s confirmed, officially official transfer dealings from Saturday, Jan. 31.
Jan 31, 2015, 7:27 PM EST
The actual games took a backseat to shenanigans as two of four semifinals places were booked on Saturday.
Jan 31, 2015, 5:45 PM EST
All of Saturday’s action from Spain and Italy.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:57 PM EST
Arsenal and Southampton hope to keep their assaults on the Top Four in order, while Aston Villa and Swansea City hope to snap skids.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:19 PM EST
And to think, we’ve still a pair of Sunday matches on the slate. Let’s go through what’s done and dusted.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:40 PM EST
There were eight games in the PL on a busy Saturday. Here’s how it all went down with recaps, analysis and much more.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:20 PM EST
Manchester City’s boss thought his charges were very good, but is disappointed to snare a solitary point against Chelsea.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:12 PM EST
Lampard was the last player on the pitch, saluting both groups of supporters.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:06 PM EST
What did we learn from the tense draw at Stamford Bridge? Here’s three things.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:47 PM EST
Giving Chelsea and City’s players a mark out of 10.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:21 PM EST
All the goal scoring came within the 41st and 45th minutes at Stamford Bridge, as City failed to cut into Chelsea’s first-place advantage.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Want to see Benzema’s brilliant bender? Of course you do.
Jan 31, 2015, 1:40 PM EST
Blind believes United are getting close to what LVG expects.
Jan 31, 2015, 1:21 PM EST
It started off slow and tentative, but the big match between Chelsea and Manchester City is opening up
Jan 31, 2015, 1:04 PM EST
Moyesy is learning Spanish from a Manchester United fan…
Jan 31, 2015, 12:50 PM EST
For the Toffees, defense is the way forward for the rest of the season.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:33 PM EST
“It’s always difficult to be honest when you’ve had a long break,” Defoe said. “But I’ve had a mini-pre-season and I’m getting sharper and sharper.”
Jan 31, 2015, 12:16 PM EST
Sunderland now has four points breathing room from the drop zone, and three points space from Burnley.
- DONE DEAL: Seydou Doumbia to Roma headlines quiet Saturday for transfers 0
- Premier League Sunday preview: Top-half teams jockey for position 0
- Premier League roundup: Big wins for Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and more 0
- Three things we learned from Chelsea vs. Manchester City 0
- Player Ratings: How did Chelsea, Manchester City’s stand-in’s fare? 0
- Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City: Blues maintain five-point lead atop table 1