Host Brazil Defeats Colombia 2-1 to Reach World Cup Semifinal

Brazil beat Colombia 2-1 in their quarterfinal in soccer’s World Cup last night to earn a place in the next round against Germany.

Defenders Thiago Silva and David Luiz scored from set pieces in each half to give Brazil the lead. James Rodriguez scored a 78th minute penalty after goalkeeper Julio Cesar brought down Carlos Bacca in the box, getting a yellow card in the process. It was Rodriguez’s sixth goal, making him the event’s leading scorer.

“They really committed men forward, with three strikers and James dropping into space,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. “Our front men had to do a lot more running too, but we got there in the end. We’ve still got two steps to go but we’ve got the ability to get there.”

Germany moved to the July 8th match by beating France 1-0 earlier in the day, giving it a part in the semifinals of 10 of the 13 World Cups. Today, Argentina plays Belgium and the Netherlands meets Costa Rica to decide the other semifinal. The tournament ends with a July 13 final back in Rio’s Maracana stadium.

Silva, Brazil’s captain, put the ball in the net with his knee after a corner kick in the seventh minute, and an hour later Luiz scored from a free kick in Fortaleza. Earlier, Germany earned a place in a record fourth straight semifinal.

Opening Goal

Brazil’s match was physical, with the 54 fouls the most in the tournament so far. Silva will miss the match with Germany after receiving a yellow card last night, and Neymar left the field on a stretcher after hurting his back.

Neymar, Brazil’s leading scorer, was sent to a clinic for exams after a challenge by Colombia’s Juan Camilo Zuniga.

“I can guarantee it won’t be easy for him to recover,” Scolari told reporters after today’s quarterfinal. “It won’t

be easy based on what doctor told us and pain he’s in.”

German defender Mats Hummels scored in the 13th minute with a header from a set piece to give Germany the lead. He also scored against Portugal in the opening round of the tournament in Brazil.

“It certainly was not a perfect match, but it was pretty good and I think we deserve to go on,” Hummels told reporters after the match. “If we can carry on this kind of soccer, a few things could pan out, even if the next match will certainly be difficult.”

The French were denied 20 minutes after the German goal by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who reached down and stopped Mathieu Valbuena’s attempt and then Karim Benzema was unable to get any power on the rebound. Valbuena was having success against Germany’s defense on the wings.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Valbuena’s cross found the head of defender Raphael Varane, whose header was stopped easily by Neuer.

German Chance

With 10 minutes remaining in the second half, Germany had a chance to increase its lead as Mesut Ozil streaked down the left and passed the ball into the box. The cross went past a lunge by Thomas Mueller and to Andre Schuerrle, who was unchallenged but shot straight at Hugo Lloris.

France had a chance in the final minute but Benzema’s shot was saved by a thrust of Neuer’s arm.

“Everybody was sad, disappointed, frustrated, and I can’t get that away from them because I feel the same way,” France coach Didier Deschamps told reporters. “Let’s not forget what we’ve done so far, which is very good. We wanted to go further. We wanted to qualify for the semis, but I don’t think there was a huge gap between both teams.”

It was 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) and 88 percent humidity at the start of the match in Rio, according to the website of tournament organizer FIFA. The players took an unofficial water break in the first half.

“On the pitch in the sun it was extremely hot, you can hardly breathe, the air hardly moves,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said. “For us Europeans that is perhaps not so easy, we’re not used to that.”

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