There may be extra pressure on the host nation Brazil to win in this World Cup, but they looked more than up to the task Friday in their victory over Colombia, even if things got a bit nerve-wracking in the final few minutes.
Brazil controlled the pace of the match from the opening minutes until Colombia made a late charge, but the home country ultimately prevailed with a narrow 2-1 victory.
Elsewhere in the quarterfinals, Germany did what it almost always does on this stage—win. Germany eliminated France from the competition with a 1-0 victory in something of a defensive slugfest.
An updated bracket for the entire World Cup can be found on ESPN FC and below.
Germany 1, France 0
Germany making the semifinals of the World Cup has become the death and taxes of the soccer world—there is no avoiding it.
Friday’s 1-0 victory over France marked the fourth consecutive trip for the Germans to the last four of the tournament. Mats Hummels drilled home the lone goal of the match in the 13th minute with a brilliant header, and the two teams simply appeared to play out the string after that.
Bleacher Report noted that it was a rather historical victory for the German side:
Germany looked more than comfortable with the one-goal lead and actually came closer to scoring than France did during a number of attacking runs. Karim Benzema had a few opportunities for France, including a golden one in stoppage time that could have sent the game to extra time, but he failed to convert on any of them.
French coach Didier Deschamps commented on his team's struggles after the match, according to Steve Douglas of the Associated Press, via ABC News: "There was not much in it. But, we don't have the international experience Germany has."
France ultimately could not contain Hummels, who did more than just score the game-winning goal for Germany, as Squawka Football noted:
Brazil 2, Colombia 1
Brazil wasted little time setting the tone in their quarterfinals victory over Colombia.
Thiago Silva was in the right place at the right time on a corner kick and buried the opening goal at seven minutes. Bleacher Report UK captured the moment:
Brazil controlled the pace and the momentum during the middle portion of the game and looked to clinch the match when David Luiz scored the game’s second goal at 68 minutes. Luiz was brilliant earlier in the contest with his control, and he seemed overjoyed at the moment, as Bleacher Report UK pointed out:
The 2-0 lead wasn’t completely safe though after goalkeeper Julio Cesar received a yellow card right in front of his own goal. It set up a penalty shot for Colombian star James Rodriguez to cut the lead to 2-1.
Colombia threatened a number of times in the final minutes, which put the crowd on the edge of their collective seat, but Brazil’s defense ultimately prevailed.
However, the result was not all good news for Brazil. Neymar was carried off the pitch on a stretcher in the final minutes and will miss the rest of the World Cup, and Silva picked up one too many yellow cards, as Tyler Duffy of The Big Lead pointed out:
Next up for the hosts is a matchup with the ruthlessly efficient German side.
The Germans haven’t been completely dominant in terms of finding the back of the net outside of the early dismantling of Portugal, but in recent matches against United States, Algeria and France, they did more than enough on the defensive side to come away victorious.
The question now is whether a Brazil attack without Neymar leading the way will be able to exploit any narrow cracks in the stout German defense. Something will have to give.
With Friday’s action officially in the books, here is a look at the remaining fixtures for the rest of the World Cup:
|2014 World Cup Remaining Fixtures|
|Saturday, July 5||4 p.m. ET||59||Netherlands vs. Costa Rica||ESPN|
|Saturday, July 5||12 p.m. ET||60||Argentina vs. Belgium||ABC|
|Tuesday, July 8||4 p.m. ET||61||Germany vs. Brazil||ESPN|
|Wednesday, July 9||4 p.m. ET||62||Winner Match 59 vs. Winner Match 60||ESPN|
|Saturday, July 12||4 p.m. ET||63||Loser Match 61 vs. Loser Match 62||ESPN|
|Sunday, July 13||3 p.m. ET||64||Winner Match 61 vs. Winner Match 62||ABC|
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