"Neymar is very important for our group, we depend a lot on him."
Brazil defeated Columbia 2-1 to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2014. Despite the victory, Brazilian wonder kid, Neymar was ruled out for the rest of the tournament.
The hosts will face a strong German side who went through to their fourth consecutive semi-finals after beating France 1-0.
Argentina were too strong as they overcame Belgium 1-0 to set up a semi-final clash with the Netherlands.
The Dutch won 4-3 on penalties after their quarter-final match against Costa Rica ended in a goalless draw after extra-time.
France 0 Germany 1 — 5pm (BST) KO, Estadio do Marcana, Rio de Janeiro — Friday
Mats Hummels scored the only goal as Germany beat France 1-0 in the first of the quarter-finals. Hummels opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a towering header.
The French looked threatening early on, but the Germans took control after going ahead. However, Didier Deschamps men caused plenty of problems for the Germans in the second half, but struggled with their final product.
There were moments when it seemed that France would equalise, but the Germans stood strong as Andre Schurrle could have added a couple more.
This was not a quarter-final to remember in what has so far been an extremely entertaining World Cup. Germany went through to their fourth semi-final in a row, whilst Les Blues will reflect on a lacklustre performance.
France will be looking towards 2016 when they host the European Championships as Deschamps explained:
“I hope this group of players can play together for a long time. I have a lot of work to do with them, but things are definitely promising.”
Brazil 2 Columbia 1 — 9pm (BST) KO, Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza — Friday
Brazil beat a determined Colombian side 1-0 to enter the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Following an intense, emotional opening, Brazil needed a solid start to settle their nerves. In the 7th minute, Thiago Silva nudged the hosts ahead from a corner cross.
The first half continued at a high tempo as neither team was allowed to get a handle on the game.
Columbia pushed on in the second half, but their hopes were crushed after a stunning thirty-five yard free-kick from David Luiz gave the hosts a 2-0 lead.
With just over ten minutes to go, a darting run from James Rodriguez resulted in a penalty for Colombia. Despite converting the penalty it was not enough as Columbian hearts were broken across the continent.
Acknowledging the Brazilian defender, British Asian football coach, Manisha Tailor tweeted after the game:
“David Luiz jheeeez. Deserved it after the way he’s played. Real heart #brazilvscolumbia.”
Argentina 1 Belgium 0 — 5pm (BST) KO, Estadio Nacional, Brasilia — Saturday
Gonzalo Higuain scored the only goal as Argentina defeated Belgium 1-0 to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.
Higuain put Argentina ahead after only eight minutes with a smart finish on the edge of the area. The strikers instinct was enough to sink Belgium who struggled to oppose their attacking game against a side managed by Alejandro Sabella.
Even in the second half, it was Argentina who looked most likely as they kept on attacking. Higuain again came close striking the bar, whilst Lionel Messi’s solo run was stopped by Belgium goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois.
It was not meant to be for the inexperienced Belgium side as star player Eden Hazard failed to make an impact on the game.
Netherlands 0 Costa Rica 0 [NED won 4-3 on penalties] — 9pm (BST) KO, Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador — Saturday
Netherlands beat Costa Rica 4-3 on penalties to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2014.
The Dutch had most of the possession in the first half, but struggled to break down Costa Rica. Arjen Robben’s theatrics gave Netherlands their best chances as two free-kicks went very close, drawing saves from Keylor Navas.
Costa Rica looked dangerous on the counter-attack in the second half, but it was the Netherlands who should have taken the lead. Robin van Persie could have scored a brace in the last ten minutes as Costa Rica took them to extra-time.
Louis van Gaal’s men dominated the first half of extra-time, but could not find the target. Both teams could have scored in a stunning second half, but the game was destined for penalties.
Goalkeeper, Tim Krul came on for the Dutch, just before the shootout. Krul saved two penalties as Netherlands beat the team from Central America 4-3 in a shootout.
The big news of the quarter-finals included Neymar being ruled out of the World Cup with a fractured vertebrae. Captain, Thiago Silva said he wanted to win the world cup for the injured Neymar. Silva said:
“Neymar is very important for our group, we depend a lot on him. But potentially this situation can mark a revolution for us, like let’s win the Cup for Neymar.”
The excitement continues in Brazil as the hosts will play Germany in the first semi-final on 08 July, 2014. Argentina will face Netherlands in the second semi-final on 09 July, 2014.
It’s a case of the Europeans versus the South Americans as we gear up for the climax of one of the most exciting World Cups on record.