Brazil 2, Colombia 1 (World Cup Quarter Final)
James Rodriguez continues amazing scoring run; Brazil defenders put Colombia out of World Cup with two set piece goals and face Germany in the Semi Finals.
Five dramatic second half minutes might have decided Brazil’s fate in this World Cup as their luck held against the Colombians.
Thiago Silva’s scrappy seventh minute goal had already given Brazil the upper hand in an exhilarating first half but his 64th minute booking was his second of the tournament.
The Brazil captain is out of the semi final game which was effectively booked five minutes later by a stunning, swerving and dipping free kick by his central defensive partner David Luiz.
It was a bizarre and petulant booking which saw the Paris Saint Germain defender punished for running across the path of Colombia ‘keeper David Ospina as he tried to clear the ball, blocking his goal kick.
The resulting suspension could ultimately cost a nervous Brazil after a game in which the tackles were flying in unpunished – a total of 54 fouls were committed which is a record for this tournament so far.
Colombia’s James Rodriguez was a particular target on the end of several Fernandinho fouls but bizarrely found himself booked for giving away the free kick that led to the Luiz goal.
The referee had already disallowed a Colombia goal two minutes before the Luiz free kick after Mario Yepes was adjudged to be offside from a free kick before he scored.
Julio Cesar was only saved from dismissal ten minutes from time after bringing down substitute Carlos Bacca in his area by a covering run by Luiz.
The penalty was despatched by Rodriguez to bring his tally for this World Cup to six, having scored in all five of Colombia’s games in this World Cup tournament.
The expected surge by the Colombians after the goal proved too late to save themselves and Rodriguez was left in tears at the final whistle.
Brazil fans will spend the next few days waiting for news of Neymar who was stretchered off in the 88th minute. Losing Thiago Silva to suspension is a big blow but although they would have defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo back after his own suspension the possible loss to injury of their talismanic top scorer Neymar could scupper their home World Cup hopes.
It was yet another exhibition of attacking football as both teams went for the early goal before the other side was set in the heat of Fortaleza.
In the event it was Brazil who won the race to draw first blood and captain Thiago Silva bundled in Neymar’s corner with his knee in the seventh minute.
Scrappy though it may have been there was no thought for sitting back by either side as no quarter was given in the early stages. Brazil were after a game killing second goal and Colombia were searching for the equaliser before the heat became an issue.
Colombian ‘keeper David Ospina was the busier of the early stages as Brazil shaded matters but he was given help by his experienced captain Mario Yepes who put in a timely deflection to prevent Hulk’s cross from reaching Fred or David Luiz after 17 minutes.
Ospina was called into action soon afterwards with a double save from Hulk and Fernandinho on the rebound after Hulk’s effort was saved.
Marcelo’s 27th minute cut back from the left was thrashed towards goal by Hulk and saved by Ospina while Hulk slice a later shot wide in the 39th minute.
Colombia were in a state of disarray at the surprisingly fluid Brazil but James Rodriguez did try to haul them back into the game when he had the ball in the 22nd minute. Rodriguez found himself in space after spinning away from a couple of players, went past Fernandinho but found David Luiz cutting down his options. Rodriguez went for the easy option to Juan Cuadrado on the right but the wingman lost the ball after a poor first touch.
They continued to be just as hesitant into the second half as Brazil were allowed to control the game once again although by then the overall frantic pace had finally dropped due to the heat but the Brazilians had continued to identify Rodriguez as the dangerman and hassled him out of the game with a succession of cynical fouls.
Ospina was called into action to grasp a cross for Neymar out of the sky after 53 minutes before Rodriguez found more space after 59 minutes and passed the ball to Fredy Guarin who tried to replicate Rodriguez’ chest and volley from the win against Uruguay but saw his version fly over the bar.
Brazil were beginning to flag as second half chances dried up before their five minutes drama allowed their World Cup odyssey to last another four days.
For Rodriguez, in tears and consoled by Luiz after the game, there is still the chance of winning the Golden Boot after he scored six goals in five games but Colombia will go home with plaudits ringing in their ears.