Brazil, Germany advance to World Cup semis

FORTALEZA, Brazil — Brazil advanced to the World Cup semifinals on Friday for the first time since 2002 as defenders Thiago Silva and David Luiz provided the goals in a 2-1 win over Colombia at the Estadio Castelao.

Silva scored after seven minutes to put Brazil in front in the quarterfinal contest, and defensive partner Luiz fired home a brilliant free kick in the 68th to double the advantage for the hosts.

Colombia pulled a goal back 10 minutes from time when James Rodriguez scored from the penalty spot, but Brazil held off a late charge to set up a semifinal meeting with Germany on Tuesday.

Brazil went out in the quarterfinal round of the past two World Cups, but the hosts got off to a great start on Friday as a corner kick from Neymar found an unmarked Silva at the back post, allowing him to turn the ball home from close range.

“We knew that Brazil would have learned something from the Chile game and that they’d play better,” said Colombia head coach Jose Pekerman. “We went into this game without conceding in our last match and then we went and let one in straightaway. It allowed the Brazilians to relax a little and put a bit of pressure on us, causing us to stop playing the kind of football we’ve been producing up to now.”

Juan Cuadrado had a good chance for Colombia four minutes later when he picked up a loose ball at the top of the penalty area and fired a shot toward goal that took a slight deflection on its way past the right post.

Hulk and Neymar worked a nice one-two on the left wing in the 20th minute that resulted in Hulk taking the return pass and drilling a low shot that forced Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina to parry the ball to safety.

Seven minutes later Hulk was at it again, this time settling a driven cross from Marcelo and forcing Ospina to get down once again to make the save.

Silva picked up a pointless yellow card in the 64th when he collided with Ospina as the netminder attempted to punt the ball forward, ruling the Brazil captain out of the semifinal with Germany through suspension.

Germany 1, France 0

Mats Hummels scored in the 12th minute and Germany held on for a 1-0 quarterfinal win over France at the Maracana on Friday, allowing the Germans to become the first nation to reach four straight World Cup semifinals.

Hummels headed home a free kick from Toni Kroos after 12 minutes on the first real chance of the game for the Germans, while Joachim Low’s team always appeared to be in control and stifled the French attack for much of the contest.

“I think both teams played well defensively today. There weren’t many goalscoring opportunities, which was part of our plan,” Low said. “We didn’t want to give France chances with the quality of strikers they possess. We closed them down well - and that was the key.”

France pressed for an equalizer over the final 10 minutes, but Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer made saves on both Blaise Matuidi and Karim Benzema to send his side through to the last four on Tuesday, where the Germans will face Brazil.

The final chance for Les Bleus came deep into stoppage time when Benzema worked his way into the box on the left and drilled a left-footed shot on goal that Neuer parried, preserving the win and sending the Germans back to the semifinals.


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