Brazil holds off Colombia in quarterfinal thriller

ThiagoSilvaBrazil1-ColombiaWorldCup2014 (Getty)

By CARL SETTERLUND

In a game that was filled with action, if not controversy, World Cup host Brazil found a way to slow down the in-form team of the tournament, holding off its western neighbor Colombia, 2-1, in a quarterfinal at Estádio Castelão in Fortaleza.

David Luiz had never scored for Brazil, but rose to the occasion to provide the winner on an absolute golazo from over 30 yards in the 69th minute.

Luiz caught Colombian keeper David Ospina inching too far to the left and struck it flush, knuckling it inside the upper right corner to make it a two-goal lead at the time.

Brazil played with the lead for most of the game as Thiago Silva gave them a 1-0 advantage off a corner kick by Neymar in the seventh minute.

Colombia’s Carlos Sánchez was caught ball-watching on the play, allowing Silva to sneak in unmarked at the far post, which was also left untended. Ospina (3 saves) was also off his line and was unable to make a play on the ball, allowing for a simple finish by the center back.

The Colombians were able to draw within a goal in the 80th minute on a penalty kick by James Rodríguez, who finished past Julio Cesar off a stutter-step into the lower left corner.

Rodríguez, the current Golden Boot leader with six goals, helped created the penalty kick by playing Carlos Bacca through into the box in the 77th minute. Cesar received a yellow card for taking down Bacca, likely avoiding a red because Luiz was there as well to challenge the scoring chance.

The Brazilians advance to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 2002 when they won the tournament. They will play Germany at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte.

Brazil was, however, dealt a pair of serious blows in its prospects of advancing to the final. A yellow card to Silva in the 64th means the Brazil captain will miss the semifinal game, while Neymar was stretchered off in the 88th minute (Update: Neymar was found to have suffered a broken vertebrae and is out for the remainder of the World Cup).

Adding some reason for encouragement for Brazil going forward is that Hulk provided one of his better performances, putting shots on frame in the 20th and 28th minutes.

The tournament hosts were able to disrupt the fluidity that helped Colombia to its first World Cup quarterfinal ever, as the teams committed a combined 54 fouls, including 31 by Brazil.

The 22-year-old Rodriguez in particular struggled to find the form that had previously made him the breakout star of this World Cup. He and Juan Cuadrado were each fouled six times.

Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo issued four yellow cards overall, but didn’t reach for his pocket until Luiz’s booking in the 64th minute.

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7 Responses to Brazil holds off Colombia in quarterfinal thriller

  1. Alex says:

    thriller???? meh, game was choppy with all the fouls. Neymar injury and Silva missing next match may cost them against Germany..

    • frank from santiago says:

      i hope your right (may cost them against Germany…) for being at home and getting most calls their way, they haven’t looked to good nor deserving of being in the semis.

  2. beachbum says:

    choppy for sure, still fun to me. intensity, skill, up and down the field play, but ref struggled, my take. looked like Luiz struck that knuckler with his instep not his laces. anyone else on that?

  3. jigones says:

    Neymar out of the WC with a broken vertebra. Per Brazilian need reports.

  4. Daniel in Chapel Hill says:

    ” knuckling it inside the upper right corner”… sure didn’t look like an upper 90 to me. The ball looked much more savable. I attribute the goal to the keeper’s poorness–he stuttered the wrong way AFTER Luiz had kcked—rather than Luiz’s greatness.