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2014 World Cup Roundup: Germany make history, Brazil march on
France 0-1 Germany
In the only all-European clash of the quarter-finals, Germany squeezed past France courtesy of Mats Hummels’ early header. Die Mannschaft came into the match on the back of a health scare, as no less than seven members of the squad were rumored to have gone down with the flu the day before.
Nevertheless, the starting lineup was not drastically altered by coach Joachim Löw, as Hummels and Klose were the only new faces in the starting XI compared to the team that faced Algeria in the round of sixteen.
Hummels scored the only goal of the game in the 13th minute; the Borussia Dortmund defender out-muscled Raphaël Varane in the penalty area and rose to head Toni Kroos’ set-piece off the crossbar and beyond Lloris to become the first German defender to score two headers in a single World Cup.
For the remainder of the game, neither team really managed to gain the upper hand, and both sides missed several chances, with Manuel Neuer pulling off an impressive string of saves in the second half. With this result, Germany have become the first team to reach four consecutive semifinals in World Cup history.
The second game of the evening featured hosts Brazil and CONMEBOL rivals Columbia, who had impressed in the previous four games of the tournament. Brazil got off to the best possible start in the 3rd minute, when Neymar’s corner evaded everyone except Thiago Silva, who tapped into an empty net.
Colombia’s defence had looked suspect from kickoff, and Los Cafeteros would struggle to get a foothold into the game for the entirety of the first half, which witnessed a large number of fouls committed by both teams.
The start of the second half witnessed an improvement in the Colombians’ performances, as the hosts started to lose possession more and more easily.
Thiago Silva escaped a yellow card halfway through the second period for a poor challenge, and Brazil capitalized on the referee’s leniency; David Luiz lashed home a free-kick from more than 30 yards out to double his side’s lead in the 69th minute.
The second goal seemed to galvanize Colombia, and after a period of sustained pressure, James Rodriguez slipped a ball through to Bacca, who was fouled by Julio Cesar and the referee pointed to the spot. James Rodriguez looked nervous as he stepped up to take the penalty, but he sent Cesar the wrong way for his 6th goal of the tournament.
A comeback was not to be, despite a couple of dangerous Colombia corners in the final minutes, and Brazil advanced to the semifinals, where they will face Germany. The victory was marred, however, by captain Silva’s suspension for accumulated yellow cards and Neymar’s serious injury which has reportedly ruled him out of the remainder of the World Cup.