Brazil you can party now! Thiago Silva scored early and David Luiz scored late, and Colombia’s James Rodriguez single handedly tried to man a comeback with a goal in the 80th minute, his sixth of the tournament, but it was not enough as Brazil held on to win 2-1.

Rodriguez was in tears after the match and consoled by David Luiz and many of the Brazilian players who showed the great young scorer their respect for everything he did for his team and country.

The match was fun, exciting and fast paced for most of the second half, but early on it seemed like both teams were entirely different than they had played previously. Colombia wore red (normally yellow) uniforms and Brazil wore their traditional yellow before the match began.

Brazil started the same XI they started against Chile. No changes for the hosts. Colombia had two changes in their starting XI Fredy Guarin and Victor Ibaro started in the midfield in the place of Jackson Martinez. Martinez has been great in the first four matches and has developed some chemistry with James Rodriguez. I’m not sure if I liked the move.

Brazil got on the board first off an odd set piece. Brazil had a corner on the left hand side of the pitch. Neymar took the corner and as the kick was in the air, it seemed nearly everyone inside the 6 yard box believed the ball was going to the near post. All players both Brazil and Colombia alike ran to the near post and the ball sailed over everyone’s head. It landed straight in front of a wide open Thiago Silva and the captain tapped it cleanly into the net. Carlos Sanzhez was the only Colombian defender near him and he seemed to have his cleats glued to the ground as he made no attempt to stop Silva.

Silva goal A shot from above of Thiago Silva's goal Reuters

Colombia did not look like the same team that progressed through their first four matches without ever going down a goal, or needing extra time to win. Brazil was the constant aggressor beating Colombia with their speed and quickness. By halftime they had outshot Colombia 10-4.

As Colombia was under constant attack early, they had very little opportunities for scoring themselves. It appeared that Brazil’s strategy was to be physical and put pressure on young star James Rodriguez. Every time he touched the ball he was surrounded by three yellow jerseys and fouled hard, numerous times early in the match.

Colombia look rattled by the moment throughout the match as they constantly turned the ball over, and played unusually sloppy for the Los Cafeteros we were used to in the tournament. Their fans were heavily outnumbered by the Brazilian fans in the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza.

Colombia came out of the locker room poised to score the equalizer. They made an immediate change by substituting midfielder Adrian Ramos for Ibarbo. Early on it didn’t look good for Colombia as Brazil was sound on defense and Colombia has never won a World Cup game after trailing at halftime as they are 0-5-1 and in history. However, there was cause for optimism as Colombia has scored 8 of their last 11 World Cup goals in the second half.  

This match proved to be a lot more fast paced, fluid, and exciting than the early quarterfinal game between Germany and France. The sharp contrast was curious and had me questioning whether or not it was a difference in styles between South America and Europe, or possibly the weather as the afternoon game certainly was a lot hotter than the evening game.

Strangely, at the hour mark, there was over 40 fouls called in the game, but not a single yellow card had been shown.

The first yellow card was shown in a silly play as the Colombian goalie, David Ospina was setting up for a goal kick and the hero, Thiago Silva ran intentionally into the goalie as he was attempting to kick. It was a stupid play by Silva and warranted a yellow card, the first one of the match, and his second in the tournament which would suspend him for the semifinal.

Colombia thought they had scored the equalizer in the 66th minute when they sent a cross into the box. The ball bounced around like a pin ball between Brazil’s goalie Julio Cesar and four different Colombian players before Colombia’s Yepes found the back of the net. Unfortunately for Colombia, the referee had his offsides flag up.

Brazil countered with a free kick of their own that sealed the deal as David Luiz found the back of the net from about 30 yards out. The ball was headed for the top right corner on impact, but Ospina, got a horrible jump on the ball and arguably should have made the save. Brazil has never lost in their history when having a two goal lead and the outcome was inevitable from that point forward.

David Luiz Brazil's David Luiz celebrates after scoring a goal in the second half against Colombia Reuters

The referee seemed to have heard the announcers talking about him not bringing his cards to the match and he started dishing them out in droves to Rodriguez, Yepes and Cesar.

Colombia was finally given a gift when Rodriguez sent a great pass to Carlos Bacca in the box and he was challenged by Cesar. Cesar fouled him as they collided and granted a penalty kick to Colombia. James Rodriguez stepped up to take the kick and delivered to bring Colombia back into the game at 2-1.

James Rodriguez Colombia's James Rodriguez was hit, fouled, and surrounded all day. Reuters

Fortaleza became a pressure cooker for panic and intensity over the final ten minutes of the match as Colombia did not go away without a fight. Multiple corner kicks and scoring opportunities arrived, but Colombia was unable to convert. Every player on the Brazil bench was seen nervously chewing their finger nails or chewing on their jerseys.

The stadium fell into a stunned silence right before the end of regulation time as Neymar was tackled hard from behind and stayed down on the ground for a good five minutes. He was unable to get up and finally was carted off the field and sent straight into the locker room.

Neymar celebrates Brazil's Neymar celebrates after his free kick turns into a goal by teammate Thiago Silva Reuters

The referee added five minutes of stoppage time and I don’t think a single Brazilian fan took a breath during its duration. Colombia had some opportunities, but Brazil dug in and held on to win the match.

Brazil survived the nerves and the pressure once again and are now one step closer to their dream. Brazil meets Germany in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday in what is sure to be an instant classic.

UPDATE: Neymar was taken directly to a hospital and we have been told that it does not look good for Neymar’s return against Germany on Tuesday. They will also be without Captain Thiago Silva who picked up his second yellow card.

UPDATE: James Rodriguez currently leads the FIFA Golden Boot Trophy race with six goals. He will have a two goal advantage over Neymar (if he plays) Thomas Mueller and Lionel Messi who still have at least one game remaning.

Rodriguez in tears Colombia's James Rodriguez is consoled by David Luiz and other Brazil players after the match Reuters

Game Notes:
Colombia last beat Brazil in 1991 at the Copa America. James Rodriguez was one year old at the time. With Neymar’s assist in the first half, he becomes the first Brazilian player to be involved in 5+ goals in a single World Cup since 2002. Brazil’s Oscar is now the leading tackler in the World Cup with 23 tackles. James Rodriguez has scored in each of his five World Cup appearances netting six in total. Rodriguez became the first player to score more than five goals in one World Cup since Brazil’s Ronaldo in 2002 (8). Rodriguez also became the youngest player since Pele to score six goals in the World Cup. A total of 54 fouls were committed in the match, the most in any World Cup game so far.