Three lessons from Brazil 2-1 Colombia

An early goal from Thiago Silva and a stunning free-kick from David Luiz sent the Selecao through to meet Germany in the semis of the World Cup as they lived up to the pressure
By Afifah Ariffin | Goal Singapore

Brazil kicked off last night’s match cautious of their opponents Colombia, who entered the game having won all four of their World Cup games. But an early goal from captain Thiago Silva in the seventh minute, and a stunning free-kick from David Luiz sealed the victory for the hosts, who have fixed themselves a date with Germany in the semi-finals.

Neymar vs Rodriguez

It was supposed to have been a showdown between the No. 10s in a game that promised a spectacle of goals from both sides. James Rodriguez and Neymar have both been central figures for their respective teams and there was a lot of hype before the game as the two face off.

Rodriguez, who has scored an impressive six goals in five consecutive games, is currently still leading the race for the coveted Golden Boot award by a two-goal margin.

But the man-of-the-moment was nowhere to be seen last night, as he failed to make an impact for his team. The youngster had a relatively quiet game throughout, despite converting a penalty to pull one back for Colombia in the 80th minute.

Instead, it was Neymar who stepped up for his side and made his first assist of the tournament after Thiago Silva finished off his corner. Neymar is also the first Brazilian player to be involved in more than five goals in one World Cup since 2002.

The Barcelona forward had a dismal season with his club, but has proven to be a key player for the Selecao this summer. However, Brazil's star striker was stretchered off the pitch in the dying minutes of the game after being kneed in the lower back and is out for the rest of the tournament - a bitter blow for Brazil.

Nervy Colombians

Colombia have been the talk of this summer’s tournament, after putting on an impressive performance leading up to their quarter-final face off against Brazil. But alas, their time in the World Cup has ended as they lost to the hosts, who put on a much superior showing.

For some reason, Los Cafeteros were lacking in the confidence that they usually exuded as they let their nerves get the better of them last night. Brazil kicked off the match patiently, as they calmly waited for Colombia to make their move. But the Colombians just could not find their footing in the early stages of the game and a messy defence allowed the Brazilian skipper to score from a Neymar corner, placing Brazil in the lead.

Rodriguez one back from the spot for Colombia in the 80th minute, after Julio Cesar recklessly brought down Bacca in the six-yard box, but his effort was not enough to spark the required comeback.

Dark clouds over Brazil

The pressure on Brazil to win the World Cup on home soil is huge and has been increasing with each and every game, but Luis Felipe Scolari will be proud of his men tonight who put on their most spirited performance of the tournament so far.  Brazil have reached the quarter-finals in each of their last six World Cups, but have not gone further than this round since 2002, and is relishing at the opportunity to win the cup on home soil.

However, Brazil will head into the last four with a series of worries, most notably with the injury to their star man Neymar, who was stretchered off the pitch after receiving a hard blow on his lower back, and is confirmed to be missing the remainder of his side's tournament. The Seleccao will also be without their skipper Thiago Silva, who is suspended from the next match after picking up an unnecessary yellow card in the second period.

The team will now have to count on the likes of David Luis - whose stunning free-kick sealed the Brazilian’s place in the semi-finals - to helm the backline in the absence of their captain and reorganise their attack if they want to penetrate through a tough German defence.