In a match that could herald the beginning of the end for Brazillian talisman, Neymar, stubborn attacking Colombia lost two goals to one to Brazil at a packed Estadio Casteleao.
Before a strong 60 000 mostly Brazillian supporters, in a very fast paced match that should have seen more bookings being handed out, Brazil managed to subdue a determined South American neighbours to book a date with European Champions, German in the semi finals. Brazil started showing intention as early as the seventh minute when, from a corner kick take by star, Neymar, Silva came from the right blind side to knee home an opener that sent the stadium into a frenzy of ecstasy. Without taking away anything from Silva’s goal, Ceasar Samchez needs to be reprimanded for ball watching in this instance.
Play continued to flow fast and in the eleventh minute, the hosts were lucky to go unpunished thanks to Silva who blocked a searching and well intended Quardrado shot from just outside the area. If there is an unsung hero in the Colombian side, it is Ospina, the goalkeeper. In the twentieth and the twenty eighth minutes, he came to the rescue of his country when Brazillian, Hulk was relentless in attack. The Spanish referee booked the Brazillian captain, Thiago Silva just over an hour into the game. This means that he will mis the semi-final clash with Germany. As Colombian piled on the pressure, in the later stages of the second stanza, the Samba Boys earned themselves a free kick just outside the penalty area. David produced a brilliant drive that gave Ospina no chance whatsoever. Credit must go to the Colombian team for the way in which the team rallied themselves to mount one of the best comeback attempts so far in the World Cup finals. Their efforts were rewarded in the 77th minute when Bacca was cleaned by Ceasar in goals for Brazil. They got their penalty but, when many felt that the goalkeeper should have been sent for an early shower, he was only cautioned and shown the yellow card. James Rodriguez stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way. However, this was a case of too little too late.
Germany continued their do mince of France in World Cup soccer and their clinical consistency in the World Cup Finals when they won their quarter final encounter by a solitary goal at the Estadio do Maracana on Friday afternoon. By winning the match, Germany have not lost against France in competitive soccer since 1958 and they are the only national team to have qualified for four consecutive World Cup semi finals.
Hummels scored the only goal of the game when he flicked on Toni Kroos’ cross from just beyond the penalty spot, past the despairing dive of Hugo Lloris in the twelfth minute. The French came close to equalizing in the 44th minute when hard-working Benzema received a high pass from Pogba, brought it down, beat two defenders and let loose but it was unfortunately straight at the goalkeeper who had the easiest of tasks to collect the ball and stop the menace. Apart from sudden outbursts, France’s game in the second half was dour and lacked urgency with the result that Germany did not feel threatened and seemed to have it easy-going into the semi finals. Many in the soccer circles feel that France should have made changes earlier if they harboured any ambitions for the final.