In easily the most emotionally-charged game of this World Cup, hosts Brazil met fellow South American squad Colombia in a highly entertaining match that saw Brazil hold off Colombia for a 2-1 win. The host nation now move on to play Germany in the first semifinal match on Tuesday.
An end-to-end game that saw both teams pressing forward for much of the contest, this one lived up to the substantial hype that preceded it. The teams’ passion was evident from the national anthems alone, which saw Brazil and their especially perform a profoundly passionate rendition.
The game itself got off to an inauspicious start for Colombia, who fell behind for the first time all tournament in just the 7th minute on a missed header and fortuitous positioning by Thiago Silva. After Neymar’s corner floated over two Colombian defenders, Silva literally ran into the ball and gave his country a dream start:
Brazil generated several chances after that with the boisterous home crowd behind them, and nearly doubled their advantage in the 20th minute. Fortunately for Colombia, goalkeeper David Ospina made two terrific saves to keep the score 1-0:
Ospina again came up huge in the 28th minute, making a sprawling save off of a cracking attempt by Hulk:
The first half ended without further incident, and as the second half we began to see a new theme emerge: fouls. And lots of them:
With Colombia prowling for an equalizer at the hour mark and looking especially menacing going forward, it seemed inevitable that they’d find an equalizer. As often happens, though, it was in fact their opponent who struck at the most unexpected time. In the 68th minute, David Luiz lined up for a free kick some 34 yards away from the goal and pinged a dipping shot outside the wall and past a late-reacting Ospina to double Brazil’s lead:
Colombia began to attack with even greater urgency, and just 10 minutes after Luiz’s strike were awarded a penalty for this foul on Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar:
The World Cup’s leading goal scorer James Rodriguez stepped up to the spot, promptly burying the penalty kick and pulling Colombia back into the game with his sixth goal in five games:
Brazil successfully killed off the game after that, although they also lost Neymar to injury on this foul:
A fantastic effort by the Colombians was not enough to save their campaign, sadly. The hosts will move on to a clash of global football juggernauts at 4 PM on Tuesday when they meet Germany in Belo Horizonte.