World Cup 2014: 5 Most Controversial Moments from Semi-Final Games

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2014

World Cup 2014: 5 Most Controversial Moments from Semi-Final Games

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    Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

    It wouldn't be a World Cup if the semi-finals passed without some sort of controversy.

    We may not have witnessed anything to the level of Luis Suarez's bite earlier in the tournament, or the injury suffered by Neymar against Colombia that ruled him out Brazil's clash with Germany, but there were still plenty of talking points.

    Notably, the Germans thrashed host nation Brazil 7-1 on Tuesday, while Argentina needed a penalty shootout victory over Holland to join Joachim Low's side at the Maracana in Sunday's finale.

    Aside from the football, what were the biggest talking points to come out of this year's World Cup semi-final matches? Bleacher Report highlights our top five. 

David Luiz's Performance Against Germany

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    He often comes in for criticism for poor judgement and a general lack of defensive acumen, but David Luiz was seemingly proving his critics wrong at this World Cup.

    Paris Saint-Germain's newest recruit had been enjoying a successful tournament up until the semi-final, when suddenly his world came crashing down around him.

    Luiz was woeful against Germany, lacking discipline and allowing the sense of occasion to get to him as Brazil were humiliated 7-1.

    It was no laughing matter for fans of the Samba Boys, but talkSPORT still made light of the whole situation in the video above. 

David Luiz Elbows Miroslav Klose...Twice!

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    Francois Xavier Marit/Associated Press

    If David Luiz's overall display for Brazil against Germany wasn't bad enough, the former Chelsea defender didn't do himself any favours with two apparent elbows on Miroslav Klose.

    Both incidents came in the first half, with Luiz fortunate the referee didn't spot him being needlessly expressive with his arms.

    Also, credit must be given to Klose. The German would have been well within his rights to partake in an element of play acting to alert the match officials of Luiz's ill-discipline.

    He didn't, though. Instead, he chose to allow his football to do the talking, scoring his team's second goal of the game to become the all-time leading goalscorer in World Cup history.

    As for Luiz, while the referee may not have spotted his flying elbows, fans on Twitter certainly did:

    How many times is Luiz allowed elbow Klose?

    — Eamon Kelly (@eamonkelly) July 8, 2014

    David Luiz should be off. Horrific elbow on Klose

    — Gregg (@GreggCarter) July 8, 2014

Brazil Fans 'Ole' Germany

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    Francois Xavier Marit/Associated Press

    If being thrashed 7-1 in a World Cup semi-final wasn't enough for Brazil, come the end of the game, their own fans were shouting "ole" every time Germany completed a pass.

    Throughout the entire World Cup, Brazilians were firmly behind their team, cheering them on to success against the likes of Chile and Colombia.

    When things went wrong, though, they soon turned their backs on their heroes.

    Brazil fans saying ole to Germany is like your child calling someone else "mummy" or "daddy"

    — Müller (@ItsBxn) July 8, 2014 

Javier Mascherano Knocked Out, Comes Back on

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    He may have been on hand to deny Arjen Robben at the death with his last-ditch tackle, but for some, Argentina's Javier Mascherano shouldn't have been on the pitch come the end of the game against Holland.

    The diminutive midfielder appeared to be momentarily knocked out during the first half, and he needed extensive treatment from the Argentina medical team before playing on.

    There is a growing debate in sport right now about the virtues of allowing this to happen, with head injuries a major concern for players.

    One argument is players should be removed from action in order to protect them from further blows in the game that could prove more damaging to their health.

    Fortunately for Mascherano, he was able to dust himself off and play an important role in Argentina reaching the final. 

Louis van Gaal Loses His Courage for Penalties

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Louis van Gaal was hailed a tactical magician after his decision to substitute Jasper Cillessen for Tim Krul at the end of extra time against Costa Rica.

    Replacing one goalkeeper for another just before a penalty shootout is unorthodox in the extreme, but it worked. Krul saved two penalties to book Holland's place in the semi-final.

    Against Argentina, however, Van Gaal lacked the courage to make a similar decision, using all three of his substitutes ahead of penalties.

    Did he try to win the game in extra time, or was it a case of Van Gaal not feeling confident to try the same trick twice?

    Given Krul's performance against Costa Rica, it's difficult to see why he wouldn't have considered repeating a winning formula.

    Twitter pundits didn't miss out on acknowledging Van Gaal's change of tact, either:

    Huntelaar has come on for Robin Van Persie. Is this the Van Gaal masterstroke? No Tim Krul tonight then...

    — MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) July 9, 2014

    Well now we all know why Jasper Cillessen was subbed off for Tim Krul vs Costa Rica... very poor shot stopping abilities vs Argentina PKs...

    — Matthew Alrick Brown (@alrickbrown) July 9, 2014