David Luiz, the Brazilian defender with the “Sideshow Bob” locks, finally took centre stage today as the host nation produced its most assured performance of the 2014 World Cup thus far to edge Colombia 2-1 today.
But Brazil was battered and bruised by the final whistle. And we don’t just mean the protesters on the street.
Talisman Neymar Junior left the playing area on a stretcher after a knee in the small of his back from Colombia right back Juan Zuniga. Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed after the match that Neymar suffered a fractured vertebra and will be unavailable for the remainder of the tournament; while captain Thiago Silva was ruled out of the semifinal clash with Germany by a cheap yellow card.
And, once more, Brazil attackers Fred and Hulk were as useful as cassette players in a digital world.
But, most importantly, the “Samba Boys” are still there.
It is 23 years and 25 games since Colombia defeated Brazil in a competitive fixture and the Colombians never looked like causing an upset today.
Brazil got both goals from set pieces. Silva used his knee for the opener after being left criminally unattended by Colombian midfielder Carlos Sanchez while Luiz converted a tremendous free kick in the 68th minute.
Colombian star James Rodriguez pulled a goal back from the penalty spot in the 80th minute but team officials might have already been packing their bags.
It set up an enthralling semi-final clash with European superpower Germany who saw off France 1-0 this afternoon in an underwhelming affair.
Picture Germany coach Joachim Löw sneaking up behind a French rooster with a pillow and a steely look in his eye; it was a match that should be reviewed by forensic pathologists not football purists.
Thirty two years ago, football fans were stunned by a scene of naked violence as West German goalkeeper Harold Schumacher clattered into French substitute Patrick Battiston with such force that he had two teeth knocked out and three broken ribs. The Dutch referee, Charles Corver, did not even award a free kick and Germany went on to win in a penalty shoot-out.
The sense of injustice led to an explosion in France where cars bearing German license plates reportedly had their windows smashed and tyres slashed.
Löw was much more passive aggressive today.
Dynamic France midfielder Paul Pogba found himself in a white, padded cell as German midfielders Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos took turns pretended to be the young Frenchman’s straitjacket. And Löw employed the more muscular, old-school centre forward Miroslav Klose upfront as Germany attempted to outmuscle the French defence.
In the end, powerful German defender Mats Hummels got the decisive goal with a header off an early free kick as 21-year-old Frenchman Raphael Varane tried limply to put him off. It looked like a five-year-old child trying to get a balloon out of his dad’s hands.
France coach Didier Deschamps never found a convincing answer to Löw’s tactics. Perhaps CSI will.
Brazil coach Luis Scolari must; and he will not have Neymar and Thiago Silva to help now.
Today’s World Cup action
Germany 1 (Mats Hummels 12), France 0
Brazil 2 (Thiago Silva 7, David Luiz 68), Colombia 1 (James Rodriguez 80)
Star of the Day
Much has been made of the individual brilliance of South American wonder-boys like Lionel Messi, James Rodriguez and Neymar at the 2014 World Cup. But sometimes a coach can be just as decisive as the flair players.
If you find yourself rooting for the bad guys in the movies, you’re probably putting Joachim Löw as your Facebook profile picture right now.
Or, to put it another way, would you really be surprised to learn that Löw whispered to Pogba: “I am your father…”
Villain of the Day
What was Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez thinking as his team defended a corner in only the seventh minute of the match?
Whether he switched off his television before he left the hotel? What’s the name of that song?
He certainly did not have his job in mind as Thiago Silva snuck around his blind side to kick in Colombia’s back door.
Maybe they will tie a string on Sanchez’s finger next time; or allow him to take cheat notes on to the field.
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Congrats to my Argentine buds Amery Browne Lasana Liburd On to the next!
Jo? I’m very hopefully that he stays on the bench for the rest of this World Cup….
Sounds simple Hillan Cadena Morean. Just resurrect Jo and Fred eh?
Will this be like The Exorcism of Emily Rose? Hahaha. Big Phil better have some mighty strong juju.
Brazil can win with some tactical adjustments. Jo is a good striker but he has spent time in Neymar’s shadow’s shadow. With the right tactics both he and and Fred can come to life. Dante can come in for Thiago and his German experience might help
So very sad!
Intentional! Look at the pics… Duniga wasn’t even near the ball, so WHAT was he playing? And then the stupid comment that he was defending his shirt? I am all for playing hard, and fighting for the victory, but that was a disgusting display! I’ve been lamenting since the second game that there was intent to hurt the boy.
These puns lolllll
Hi guys i feel this a topic for discussion, we went to video footage for the bite Suarez administered, so why is F.I.F.A. for the knee on Nemar which could end his playing career, it was deliberate calculated and malicious, this player should be banned for life, he had no intention to play the ball. Are there double standards? come on F.I.F.A. look at this and do the right thing.
Or Willian to stretch Germany. Or try to.
There can still be the Argentina/Germany final I predicted before the tournament. Or the Netherlands/Germany final that Brian Springer predicted.
Or the Brazil/Argentina final that most people want!
Lol, sounds good.
you have hurdles to cross before. get there and it will be proven
Hahahaha. Good one Melville!
You will get the chance to prove that. Lol
Fractured Philip. Jason Moyo Sylvester, for now our system is Messi. If he is injured, we might try 4-3-3 or one of those other things that teams without a Messi try. 😉
To me it appeared intentional as a foul in the back. Not sure he meant to damage him badly but the damage is done. I await FIFA’s verdict and action.
Allyuh see how Trinidad couldah win the World Cup ?
We woulda slip in 10 COP with Praks as main striker and beat dem bad !!
Because none ah dem have vertebra.
Someone in another post is suggesting that it was an intentional knee on the part of the Colombian player. Thoughts?
He can play Hulk up front, Hulk only plays wide for Brazil, like how Luiz only plays DEF for Braz & mid for Chelsea (of course now he goin PSG n will play in DEF). Hulk plays as striker in club football all the time.
I really cannot understand Scolari’s thinking by taking not one but two weak links. Leaving out an exciting player such as Lucas Moura not sure if Pato was injured but even with a limp he is much better than Jo by far….
more to come
Glad you know that Darryl. Long long gone.
Well Scolari can try Fred and Jo simultaneously, but unfortunately 0+0=0.
As a fan of good football it saddens me to learn of this injury to Neymar.
For real Prince Borde and Lasana Liburd your choice seems the best, plus Willian is more physical than Neymar or Bernard. But we have won our game Lasana, who is going to step up on your team to help ease the load on the short boss????
I find that he has been very tentative in his play so far not completely happy with him right now. Fernandinho has been playing his part I actually would like to see Hernanes start as Neymar’s replacement.
I think Willian will target the German weakness which is pace. Let’s just say Germany won’t have uneasy nights thinking about Hernanes.
I thought Fernandinho did okay. But James saw a fair bit of the ball. If his teammates did a bit better you definitely wouldn’t be praising Fernandinho.
I thought Fernandihno did a great job man marking James Rodrigues. Paulihno was better today but he’s not the answer.!who takes Neymar place? Willian or Ramirez. FIFA late call for Ronaldihno! Joke that! Lol