In a battle of South American juggernauts, Brazil and Colombia faced off on Friday to earn the right to meet Germany in the 2014 World Cup semifinals.
This match promised plenty of fireworks, as Brazil's Neymar and Colombia's James Rodriguez—two of the most exciting players in this year's tournament—took the pitch.
Before the fixture began, World Cup history didn't favor the host country, according to a tweet from Paul Carr of ESPN:
Bad news for Brazil? Last 8 WC teams (& 15 of 20 overall) to advance on PKs were eliminated in the next round.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) July 4, 2014
Well, things changed rather quickly.
Brazil quickly marched down the pitch, earning a good amount of time in Colombia's half. That led to several early chances which culminated in an early score from captain Thiago Silva off a corner.
Neymar curled the ball to the far post, and Silva got his body in front of the cross and steered it in to put Brazil up 1-0 in the seventh minute.
Here's a look at the goal, courtesy of Bleacher Report UK:
Brazil continued to apply pressure after the goal, looking sharper on Friday that it had in previous performances. However, David Ospina looked solid in goal and didn't allow the game to get out of hand after recording a couple of brilliant saves.
Here's a look at one of his saves against Hulk, courtesy of World Soccer Talk:
Later in the half, Ospina was at it again—against Hulk, again:
What quarterfinal contest would be complete without a little bit of controversy?
This match featured quite a bit of it, as the referee had his hands full with some chippy play and some rule violations. Unfortunately, he failed to catch several of these incidents throughout the match which led to some frustration.
Graham Ruthven conveyed his thoughts on Twitter:
Brazil quite clearly targeting Rodriguez, but not a single booking. Really poor from the ref.— Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven) July 4, 2014
Regardless, the game entered the half in Brazil's favor, as the host country continued to maintain its 1-0 lead. This stat boded very well for Neymar and Co., according to ESPN Stats & Info:
The aggression toward James continued in the second half, and onlookers started to become significantly frustrated.
Mark Mravic of Sports Illustrated was clearly one such person:
PLEASE SHOW THE YELLOW CARD. A team-wide assault on the opponent's best player must be penalized.— Mark Mravic (@MarkMravic) July 4, 2014
Well, the fouls continued to accumulate, and the referee called as many as he saw. One such incident involved Brazil's Silva after some interference on a goalkeeper's punt.
ESPN FC noted the significance of this penalty:
Out of all the 40 fouls, Thiago Silva gets booked for blocking the keeper's punt. And now he'll miss the next match. Captain.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 4, 2014
After a near-goal from Colombia to equalize the match, Brazil moved quickly down the field, and David Luiz capitalized with a brilliant strike on a free kick, netting his team another goal in the 69th minute to go up by a score of 2-0.
Here's a look at the shot, courtesy of Sporting Intelligence:
Ref can't play his cards right. David Luiz can. https://t.co/MmeTuBzrjn— sportingintelligence (@sportingintel) July 4, 2014
Just as it seemed Colombia was ready to be eliminated, the unthinkable happened.
James sent Carlos Bacca into the zone, and Julio Cesar came off the line to challenge him. Cesar failed to make contact with the ball and took out Bacca, earning a yellow card and giving Colombia a penalty kick.
The kick would be taken by James, and he would continue his scoring streak in this World Cup by beating Cesar in the 80th minute to bring his team to within one goal.
Here's a great look at his strike, courtesy of World Cup 2014:
The remainder of the match featured a chess match between the two coaches, as numerous substitutions were made by both sides.
Despite some close chances from Colombia, the score would remain the same, and Brazil went on to earn the victory and a meeting with Germany in the semifinals.
While Brazil advanced, it may be at a big disadvantage in its upcoming contest.
As mentioned earlier, Silva will miss the match, and according to a tweet from SportsCenter, Neymar won't be playing either:
BREAKING: Neymar has been ruled out of World Cup w/ a fractured vertebra. » pic.twitter.com/QOJxe89q2h— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 4, 2014
Germany already figured to be a difficult opponent for whichever team advanced, but with these two players out from Brazil's semifinal contest, the host country should be severe underdogs.
Still, anything can happen in the World Cup, as we've already experienced.
The wild ride will continue in short order.