BRAZIL 2-1 COLOMBIA
FRIDAY 4TH JULY – FORTALEZA
Brazil’s thuggish display this evening combined with some poor refereeing hampered what was a high tempo enjoyable game in Fortaleza. The host nation hung on to defeat Colombia 2-1 although Luis Felipe Scolari’s men only had two shots to Colombia’s seven in the second half, but Los Cafeteros did not have enough magic left to tie it up with the host nation.
The two goals for Brazil were scored by PSG defensive pairing Thiago Silva and David Luiz. The hosts got off to a perfect start after seven minutes with Thiago Silva bundling the ball home at the back post. His marker Carlos Sanchez was caught asleep and Silva stuck his left knee out and got on the end of a corner from the left, won and delivered by Barca star Neymar.
The number one contender for player of the tournament James Rodriguez, was booted from the opening whistle and the Brazilian fouls went unpunished from referee Carlos Velasco Carballo. Scolari and his side had the old school approach of stopping the shining light of the Colombian team, an approach the 1970 World Cup winning side would strongly disapprove of.
Nevertheless, the plan worked and Juan Cuadrado, himself who has played well throughout the tournament, was pushed and overpowered by Marcelo and Fernandinho. It was not until the second half when Rodriguez and Cuadrado were able to make an impact, and this was after coach Jose Pekerman replaced the ineffective Victor Ibarbo for Adrian Ramos in the half-time interval and changed to a 4-4-2 formation from a 4-2-3-1.
It took a sensational free-kick from David Luiz to stop the Colombian dream. Colombian frustrations had grew when James Rodriguez fouled Hulk 35 yards out, a decision that the red shirts felt was unjust after the punishment the Monaco man has received throughout. However, Luiz, a new Paris Saint-Germain signing, hit a ferocious side-footed strike into the top corner from 30 yards out. The shot dipped and dived and gave David Ospina absolutely no chance of stopping.
Showing great determination, the Colombians did not drop their heads and pressed for goals. They were given new life when Julio Cesar fouled substitute striker Carlos Bacca in the box. The Brazilian keeper received just a yellow card and Rodriguez duly converted the penalty, his sixth goal of the tournament, and Colombia began to pour on the attacks.
Carrying a knee injury all week, Neymar proved to be unproductive and must be a doubt for the semi-final after being carried off on a stretcher three minutes from the end after receiving a knee in the back from Carmelo Zuniga.
This was not a pretty win from Brazil who will face Germany, possibly without Neymar, but definitely without captain Thiago Silva who receives a yellow card ban from the semi-final. It was a real shame to see the Colombians knocked out as they had proved to the world that they were the most entertaining, if not the best, team of the World Cup finals so far.
BRAZIL: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Fernandinho, Paulinho (Hernanes 86), Oscar, Neymar (Henrique 88), Hulk (Ramires 83), Fred.
GOALS: Thiago Silva 7, David Luiz 69.
BOOKINGS: Thiago Silva 64, Julio Cesar 78.
COLOMBIA: Ospina, Zuniga, Zapata, Yepes, Armero, Guarín, Sanchez, Cuadrado (Quintero 80), Rodriguez (Bacca 70), Ibarbo (Ramos 46), Gutiérrez.
GOALS: Rodriguez 80P.
BOOKINGS: Rodriguez 68, Yepes 72.
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