That both Brazil goals were scored by defenders, Thiago Silva with a poacher's effort and David Luiz contributing a Germany 2014 World Cup jersey
spectacular shot from distance, summed up the attacking ethos the world associates with this country's football, as well as the effects this emphasis can have on its national team's defending.
Colombia's wait for a win in Brazil goes on, but they signed off from a tournament they have illuminated with some excellent football of their own by taking the five-time winners to the wire, courtesy of a Golden Boot-leading sixth goal from James Rodriguez with 10 minutes left of normal time.
In the end, this pulsating match was deservedly won by a Brazilian team that attacked with skill and purpose against dangerous, impressive opponents. They may not be at the level of the all-time great Brazil teams, and they are certainly vulnerable defensively, but with the energy of their passionate home backing lifting them to new heights, Luis Felipe Scolari's team could yet go all the way to glory in Rio.
In this quarter final, the Fortaleza crowd contributed to another rousing rendition of the Brazilian national anthem, and they raised the decibel level another notch when Brazil took the lead after just six minutes.
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Silva bundled in a corner with his knee, sneaking in behind a ball-watching Carlos Sanchez.
It was the first time Colombia had trailed in the tournament, but they responded with an attacking foray of their own, Juan Cuadrado sending a shot whistling past Julio Cesar’s left-hand post.
The game had begun with the kind of enticing, attacking intent that has lit up this World Cup, but Cuadrado’s effort seemed only to provoke Brazil into action.
On 17 minutes, Hulk danced his way into a good position in the box, only to have his shot blocked. The ricochet took the ball across goal, where Pablo Almero just managed to clear ahead of a lunging David Luiz.
Two minutes later Hulk and Neymar played a clever one-two, with the former drawing another save from Colombia’s David Ospina.
The match had started at a ferocious pace, with Brazil displaying the kind of movement, creativity and one-touch play that are etched in the host nation’s football folklore.
The great Brazilian teams are famed for their dazzling, attacking soccer, yet from 1958 to 1982, via the legendary 2014 World Cup jerseys
1970 side, also displayed defensive fragility. If the 2014 vintage were intent on showing their grasp of ‘Jogo Bonito’ against Colombia, they also demonstrated a familiarity with those old defending demons.
With the crowd roaring them on, Brazil were caught on the break, and momentarily Colombia had a four-on-two counter, only for Rodriguez’s final ball to go astray.
It was a warning, but it certainly didn’t temper the wave after wave of yellow attacks.
On 27 minutes, a powerful left-foot strike from Hulk brought an excellent save from Ospina. The Brazil attacker with a superhero name had, like his comic book namesake, undergone a dramatic transformation in the Adidas F50 For Sale
early part of the match, certainly compared to his limp displays in the earlier rounds.
That was as close as anyone came to another goal in the first half, although Neymar sent a free kick just over the bar as the interval approached.
Brazil’s star man was dovetailing well with Hulk, while Colombia’s exciting Rodriguez was being marshalled by Ramires.
The Chelsea midfielder seemed determined to show the Colombian playmaker that he was a marked man, thundering into challenges that a less lenient referee might have punished.
By fair means or foul, Brazil stifled Colombia’s danger man in the first half and went in at the break one up, after an enthralling half of football in which they rediscovered their verve.
The second half began in more attritional fashion, though still played at a frantic pace, as the teams scrapped for their World Cup lives.
This was typified by a clumsy foul by Thiago Silva on Colombia substitute Adrian Ramos, which looked more dangerous to the Brazil captain than his opponent.
It got worse for Silva, though, when he picked up a stupid booking for a foul on Ospina, needlessly blocking the Colombian goalkeeper as he prepared to kick the ball down field.
That caution ruled him out of the semi-final against Germany, and the anguished reaction of coach Luis Felipe Scolari on the touchline showed what a blow it was for the Selecao.
Colombia were certainly holding their own, but with 65 minutes on the clock a pivotal few minutes saw this quarter final take three decisive twists.
First, Colombia had the ball in the back of the net after a goalmouth scramble and finish from Mario Yepes, but the referee had blown for offside.
Then minutes later, Rodriguez was harshly booked for a foul on Hulk. The Monaco man looked incredulous, considering the tackles he had been subjected to, without punishment.
His sense of injustice must have rocketed when David Luiz strode up to unleash a rocket of his own, scoring one of the great World Cup free-kicks to double Brazil’s lead and seemingly send the hosts through to the last four.
It was another blast from the past, as Luiz put his name alongside Pele, Garrincha and Eder in the pantheon of brilliant Brazilian set piece goals on the biggest stage of all.
Rodriguez himself had scored perhaps the goal of the tournament in the previous round, against Uruguay, and he showed again why he has emerged as the most exciting player in the competition by channelling his anger into yet more sumptuous skill.
With 14 minutes remaining, a clever pass from Rodriguez played in substitute Carlos Bacca, who was brought down by onrushing goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
The referee blew for a penalty and, with the Colombian players appealing for a red, booked Cesar.
As he stepped up to strike the ball and potentially decide Colombia’s World Cup destiny, Rodriguez looked Cesar straight in the eyes. Brazil’s number one dived to his left and the tournament’s top scorer cooly slotted the penalty in the opposite direction to breathe new life into the tie.
Colombia threw everything they had at Brazil in an attempt to force extra-time, Soccer Jerseys for sale
but the hosts found the defensive resolve to hang on and take another step toward heaven, as coach Scolari described it earlier in the week.
The pressure on Brazil to triumph at home is immense, and in order to take each step toward heaven, it must feel like going through a little bit of hell, but at the final whistle tonight the score read Brazil 2-1 Colombia and that is all that matters for now. The dream lives on.
Yet with captain Silva suspended for the next game and Neymar stretchered off after 87 minutes, the real winners in Fortaleza could yet prove to be Germany.