All the pressure in the world on Brazil today as they continued their quest to win a World Cup on home soil. Last outing brought a tension-filled match with fellow South American side Chile that was not decided until the final penalty kick. This time out presented an even bigger challenge in the form of a very talented Colombia squad.
A raucous home crowd greeted the Brazilians and within minutes f the opening kickoff they were rewarded with a goal. Neymar earned a corner and the yellow sat up for a set piece. Three Brazilians went near post as Neymar flighted his ball over their head to the back post where captain Thiago Silva was arriving to tap home. Let the celebrations begin!
This game was destined to be wide open and an early goal would do nothing to quench that. Colombia were behind for the first time in five games. How would they respond? Colombia almost answered back within a couple of minutes as Cuadrado saw his shot from the top of the 18 skim off Thiago Silva and skirt the side netting going inches wide for a corner.
Colombia were diving in for every ball, but it was Brazil that really looked the part in the opening twenty minutes. Hulk was turned aside by Ospina and when Oscar fired the rebound on a rope Ospina was again up to the task snatching the shot. End to end action. Simply thrilling to watch such an open game under such circumstances.
Ospina was doing his best TimHoward impersonation as Brazil were firing shots and attacking in waves. Colombia looked to have a goal in them though as they were getting their fair share of attacks as well.
Colombia had a huge chance in the 36th as Ibrado earned a soft free kick right at the top of the Brazilian penalty area. Alarm bells as James Rodriguez stood over the kick. It was an indirect free kick though as the referee whistled for dangerous play. The play turned into a bit of a joke though as Neymar raced in to block the shot. Clear incroachment that went uncalled.
At the other end Neymar earned his side a dangerous free kick of their own as he goaded Zuniga into a foul. Neymar wasted the chance though as he curled his shot over and past the back post. The first half concluded 1-0 to Brazil. An entertaining and fast paced affair with everything still to play for in the final 45.
The opening fifteen minutes of the second half were a bit quieter than the first half. The only noticeable difference was that Brazil were starting to sit deeper as Colombia were pushing a bit farther forward. Could Colombia get it tied up or would Brazil punish them on a counter?
Finally on the 41st foul of the day Thiago Silva picked up the first yellow card of the game for impeding the punt from Ospina. That means the captain of Brazil will be missing the semifinal on suspension. If you are going to get a suspension at least earn the yellow. How dumb and potentially disastrous for Brazil going forward.
A minute later Colombia put the ball in the net past Julio Cesar. The flag was up though and the goal was disallowed despite the visitors protests. And then Boom! David Luiz fired home one of his trademark long range free kicks. Ospina was hiding behind the wall as the Luiz free kick knuckled past him into the right side of the goal. 69th minute and Brazil were on their way to the semifinal to face Germany. Forty eight times Brazil had taken a two goal lead in a World Cup match and forty eight times they emerged as victors. This one is over despite there being twenty minutes left to play. The Coffee Men were done.
Or we're they? In the 78th a perfect pass from James Rodriguez sent Baca racing in on Julio Cesar in the Brazil goal. Cesar chopped him down. Penalty. Yellow card for Cesar. James Rodriguez stepped for the spot kick and put it home. His 6th goal of the World Cup. Colombia had a lifeline and the game was back on!
The Brazilian fans were left wringing their hands and counting down the seconds as Colombia went right back into the attack. In the 87th Neymar was crushed by Zuniga who put his knee right into the small of Neymar's back. He needed the stretcher and had to be subbed off in obvious pain. Colombia were helping Brazil wind down the clock though by committing several silly fouls. Five minutes of stoppage time to go. The Coffee Men were throwing everything they had forward, but time was running out. Brazil were through to the semifinals. A bigger challenge awaits now as powerful Germany is Tuesday.