Brazil into World Cup semi-final

Thiago Silva and David Luiz scored as Brazil set up a World Cup semi-final meeting with Germany, beating Colombia 2-1.

Silva netted in the early stages of a breathless encounter, scoring from a corner that evaded everyone and with Carlos Sanchez switched off, the Paris Saint-Germain centre-back’s knee knocked the ball over the line.

The captain was though booked in the second half and will miss the semi-final as a result. Silva saw yellow for blocking a David Ospina goal kick, cautioned when Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo had let a lot of fouls slide without a card.

Centre-back partner Luiz weighed in with a free-kick from some 35 yards, excellently struck but controversially awarded. James Rodriguez had been targeted by the Brazil midfield, particularly Fernandinho, but while the Manchester City man escaped sanction despite a number of fouls, James was booked for what may have been his first transgression. Luiz converted the resulting set-piece.

James scored his sixth goal of the tournament from the penalty spot to keep Colombia in the tie until the death, Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca brought down by Julio Cesar. Cesar was booked for the foul but red may have been more appropriate. The Colombia players certainly thought so.

The game was end-to-end stuff, with Colombia threatening on the break but Brazil playing with fervour to match the cauldron whipped up in the Fortaleza stands.

Tottenham midfielder Paulinho replaced the suspended Luiz Gustavo for Brazil, while Barcelona right-back Dani Alves was dropped in favour of Roma’s Maicon. Neymar was fit to take his place but didn’t see out the match, having to be stretchered off after getting a knee in the back in the final minutes of the match.

Colombia also made two changes, dropping Jackson Martinez and Abel Aguilar for Fredy Guarin and Victor Ibarbo. James pushed up to support lone striker Teo Gutierrez in the absence of Martinez.

The game had barely settled in before Silva put the hosts in front, bundling home from a corner in a manner that will leave the Colombia Coach, Jose Pekerman, highly disappointed with his side’s defending.

Colombia dealt with the next corner barely any better, eventually scrambling the ball away, with David Ospina later making two saves in quick succession before a Colombia break, led by James, broke down when Cuadrado’s pass was easily intercepted.

A number of half chances, promising opportunities and potentially dangerous free-kicks came to naught while Carballo was rather lenient, allowing Fernandinho to escape a caution despite his repeated fouls on James.

It had been Brazil doing the pressing for a second goal but the second half saw Colombia come back into the tie, Brazil reduced to hurried clearances – cheered by the partisan home crowd. The hosts somehow avoided giving Colombia a clear chance for an equaliser before Luiz doubled the lead.

Luiz was influential again, albeit indirectly, as it can only be his presence on the goal line that kept Cesar on the pitch when he brought down Bacca. Luiz was chasing the loose ball as Bacca was fouled and the goalkeeper was shown yellow, rather than red.

James scored and Colombia pushed for an equaliser, forcing a series of corners and giving Brazil a fright with a Bacca header that flashed wide. But that was as close as Colombia game to sending the game to extra time as Brazil held on and kept the dream alive.

Brazil 2-1 Colombia

Scorers: Thiago Silva 7, (BRA) David Luiz 68 (BRA), James pen 80 (COL)

Brazil: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Fernandinho, Paulinho (Hernanes 86); Hulk (Ramires 83), Oscar, Neymar (Henrique 88); Fred

Colombia: Ospina; Zuniga, Zapata, Yepes, Armero; Cuadrado (Quintero 81), Sanchez, Guarin, Ibarbo (Ramos 46); James, Gutierrez (Bacca 69)

Referee: Carballo (Spain)

Tags Brazil Colombia David Luiz Germany Thiago Silva World Cup 2014
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