David Luiz set piece goal at the 68 minute would end up being the winning goal in the 2-1 victory over Colombia. However, with Neymar fractured vertebra and Captain Thiago Silva one game suspension because of accumulation of yellow cards, the victory has come at costly price.
Byline: Jorge Belon, Editor in Chief
FORTALEZA– The Brazilian are now one step away from getting to the final after their 2-1 victory against Colombia on Friday, but with Neymar being ruled out of the World Cup and Silva serving a suspension against Germany for the semifinal match the Brazilian found themselves in hot water the second the game ended.
“We are delighted with the win but sad about this news. It’s all very frustrating,” Brazilian forward Hulk told FIFA.com. “Neymar really looks after himself. He was so excited about the World Cup and he’d helped us so much. We have to get over this and run even harder for him. We’re going to try and be the champions anyway and dedicate the title to him.”
At the 86 minute, the Barcelona play maker was looking to control a ball just outside the penalty box. Right when Neymar Jr. controlled the ball, Colombian defender Camilo Zúñiga came crashing into Neymar from behind. Zúñiga foot hit the back of the leading goal scorer for Brazil, and immediately Neymar fell down and the pain on his face was visible.
When the medics came on to the field, they had to roll him onto the stretcher, since the Brazilian attacking midfielder was not able to get up on his own strength.
As he was carried off the field, the joy and party of Brazil beating Colombia and reaching the semifinals vanished and a deadly silence hit the Estádio Castelão, the great chance of the Samba Kings winning a World Cup for the first time since 2002 took a major blow with Neymar’s injury.
“Neymar had a scan, which confirmed he had fractured his third vertebra,” Brazilian Football Association (CBF) Doctor Rodrigo Lasmar told FIFA.com, about the talented play maker. “In terms of the recovery process, it’s a fracture that heals quickly, but unfortunately he’ll be in no condition to play next week.”
However, the match did not start in such a negative tone for the Brazilians. In fact an early goal from the Captain Silva started the party for Brazil. Neymar delivered a floating corner to the right hand corner of the penalty box, the ball floated and missed the heads of Brazilians and Colombians.
Making run to the back post was Silva, the ball bounced right in front of a sleep walking Cafetero defender. Silva came and made contact with the ball with his thigh, and the ball bounced into the back of the net to give the Samba Kings a 1-0 lead at the seventh minute.
After that goal the Colombians fell into a state of shock, they had never once trailed a team in the World Cup till now. The youth of the Cafeteros began to show as the game went on.
Their attacks began to diminish, but they were given many chances to tie the game, since their goalie David Ospina was able to keep the Brazilians at bay with three huge saves. Though four minutes before the Samba Kings were able to extend their lead 2-0, their captain would receive a foolish yellow card when he collided with the Colombian goalie, as he was in the process of punting the ball out of the box.
With that yellow card at the 64 minute, he would be destined to miss the semifinal match against Germany on Tuesday, July 8. A few minutes later Luiz would change the mood for Brazil, when he scored of a free kick at the 68 minute, to make it 2-0.
The former Chelsea defender stood over the ball, that was positioned right outside the penalty box, at the middle of the field. He took a couple steps towards the ball and floated the ball into the right hand corner of the net, the ball would graze the gloves of Ospina, but the ball would still enter the net.
The Brazilians were on their way to the semi’s, until the Cafeteros gave the nation a scare, when the leading goal scorer of the World Cup James Rodríguez would get his sixth of the tournament from a well kicked powerful penalty. The Colombians were once again back in the game as they made the once comfortable lead for Brazil a 2-1. lead at the 80 minute.
The host nation would be able to hang on to the narrow 2-1 lead. However, it would be without Neymar as he left the game four minutes before the match would end with a fractured vertebrae.
“The goal we conceded came about because we gave away possession and were caught off balance,” Brazilian Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari told FIFA.com after the physical victory against Colombia. “They really committed men forward, with three strikers and James dropping into space. Our front men had to do a lot more running too, but we got there in the end. We’ve still got two steps to go but we’ve got the ability to get there.”
The host nation will be traveling to Belo Horizonte as they will be facing Germany on Tuesday, July 8. The dream run for Colombia has ended in the quarterfinals and they will be taking the short trip back to Colombia.
Highlights to this game can be seen on this link http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=intl:1932880, video provided by ESPN FC.