World Cup 2014 - Quarter Finals
- Brazil 2-1 Columbia
- France 0-1 Germany
- Holland 0-0 Costa Rica
- Argentina 1-0 Belgium
Brazil without Neymar?
Brazil 2 Colombia 1
4th July 2014, Fortaleza
Whether favouritism or chance saw this match played in Brazil’s northern fortress, this was definitely the venue Brazil would have selected to play their most difficult opponents yet. Fortaleza was the last place a Brazil side lost on home soil (to Paraguay in 2002) but in 41 subsequent matches they have not been beaten and in Fortaleza they have gained many important wins. The hosts made 2 changes – Maicon for Alves and Paulinho in for the suspended Gustavo.
Colombia (wearing beautiful red adidas shirts) also made 2 changes with Guarin and Ibarbo returning in place of Martinez and Aguilar. There have been some pretty outlandish fan costumes at Brazil 2014 but Colombians probably have the weirdest – particularly the variations on the tradition bird-man outfits. Both sides sang hearty anthems and FIFA insisted on various anti-discrimination actions involving both teams. How about some anti-corruption action and less hot air?
12 Cesar, 23 Maicon, 3 Tiago (Cap), 4 Luiz, 6 Marcelo, 5 Fernandinho, 8 Paulinho, 11 Oscar, 10 Neymar, 7 Hulk, 9 Fred
16 Ramires for 7 (82), 18 Hernanes for 8 (86) and 15 Henrique for 10 (88)
1 Ospina, 18 Zuniga, 2 Zapata, 3 Yepes (Cap), 7 Armero, 13 Guarin, 6 Sanchez, 11 Cuadrado, 10 Rodriguez, 9 Gutierrez, 14 Ibarbo
19 Ramos for 14 (46), 17 Bacca for 9 (70) and 20 Quintero for 11 (80)
After listening to 30 mins bull**** from ITV’s pundits we were left with Tyldesley and Townsend to ruin our enjoyment of the match. For his many faults, Townsend at least seems to understand the rules of modern football and spent much of the match correcting the buffoon sat next to him.
Early exchanges showed portents of things to come. Paulinho tested Yepes’ pace and the old man did well to match his run. Any Colombian possession was booed by the home fans and we saw a number of dodgy tackles halting the progress of the flair players on either side. The first strike of note came after Sanchez fouled Fred. Neymar put his shot over the wall but wide. Maicon then charged down the right but his cross drifted behind. Zapata began by taking Colombia’s goal kicks – was Ospina carrying some sort of injury? On 6 mins Fernandinho found Neymar down the left. Zapata closed him down but the ball span out for a corner. Neymar swung his cross to the far post where Thiago ran past a statuesque Sanchez to sweep the bouncing ball into the net. 1-0 Brazil. Colombia are behind – for the first time in Brazil.
On 8 minutes Oscar fouled James giving Colombia a free kick in the centre of the pitch. It was a long way out but Guarin took the shot which sailed over the bar. Colombia’s next attack saw Cuadrado’s shot deflected for a corner. He took it himself but failed to beat the first defender. Fernandinho was very involved in everything Brazil did, winning plenty of balls in midfield. On 13 he hacked down James in the centre circle but the referee gave no more than a free kick. There followed a period where both sides squandered possession but suddenly Maicon chased a ball down the right, forcing the defender to concede a corner. Neymar’s cross was headed out by Yepes but Brazil recovered the ball and sent Hulk away down the left. He tried to find Luiz but his cross was cleared but again Brazil recovered the ball. Hulk then worked a 1-2 with Neymar and struck a firm shot which Ospina saved well. Moments later the keeper saved from Oscar and Brazil won another corner. This resulted in another shot from Marcelo but this time the keeper was untroubled.
On 20, Colombia were back on the attack. James’ cross was cleared but when he next got the ball he looked for Guadrado. He was closed down by defenders. The game became end-to-end. On 24 Paulinho broke into the box - and fell over. Down the other end Ibarbo’s overhit pass was fielded by Cesar. On 26 Hulk and Marcelo worked the ball in from the left. It came to Fred who fired over. Marcelo then set up Hulk who drew a great save from Ospina.
Marcelo then fouled Guarin and James’ free kick was headed out for a throw. Colombia then won a string of throw-ins down their left as Brazil seemed content to just boot the ball out of play. Eventually a chance was created for Cuadrado but his shot was blocked. On 32, Fenandinho and Marcelo played in Neymar but his forward pass was overhit. Goal kick – interestingly, Ospina was now taking them himself.
Brazil enjoyed a period of possession, winning a couple of corners but causing no great problems for the side in red. On 35, Ibarbo won a free kick when he connected with Fernandinho’s high boot. James’ took it but it was charged down by a defender - well beyond the foam line! Another free kick was awarded for Thiago’s foul on Cuadrado. James took this one too but Cesar rose a caught his cross.
On 39, Hulk was set up by Neymar but his woeful shot was well wide. On 43 minutes, Fred showed some great control before playing in Neymar. His control let him down but won a reprieve when taken down by a brainless foul by Zuniga. Neymar put his free-kick wide. In the final minute of the half Hulk was caught with a studs-up tackle by Zuniga in the centre circle. Would earn a straight red anywhere these days yet this awful Spanish referee let it go. Brazil retaliated with 2 more fouls before half-time: 1-0 Brazil. There were plenty of fouls from both sides - probably the dirtiest 45 minutes at Brazil 2014 but not a single card was shown.
Hertha striker Ramos came on for the 2nd half replacing Ibarbo. He was soon charging in pursuit of a ball down the left flank but could not keep it in play. It looked as if Colombia’s half-time talk centred on winning more free kicks as every tackle now resulted in extravagant dives to the ground. The referee was so poor he fell for many that weren’t fouls but missed some that were. A string of free-kicks kept Brazil penned back but Cesar and his centre-backs stood firm.
On 50 minutes Brazil eventually got upfield but Zapata headed it behind - goal kick? Yeah right! Both sides continued to give away free kicks, Brazil going ahead as the foul count mounted. Neymar seemed off his game; holding onto the ball when team-mates were available. Maicon was doing OK at right back. He was helping out going forwards but not forgetting his defensive duties like Alves usually does. Thiago then ploughed into the back of Ramos and feigned injury – successfully, as no card was shown.
On 59 Armero crossed to James. The #10 chipped the ball onto Guarin who fired over the top. Colombia then enjoyed a period of pressure with Brazil happy to just boot the ball away. Another free kick gave James the chance to cross. Zapata met it but his header bounced away off a defender. Brazil moved down the park and Neymar was stopped by a crude body check. The big blokes came up but his free-kick sailed beyond them, claimed by Ospina. As the keeper tried to launch the ball downfield, Thiago blocked him. Stupidly he then turned and rolled the ball into the empty net, earning himself the first yellow card and a semi-final ban! Given the savagery of much that had gone before, that was a pretty limp booking.
James Rodriguez was seeing plenty of the ball but that was because he was taking most of the free-kicks. On 66 he swung another cross into the box but 2 team mates were offside. The flag went up and play was stopped. The ball ended up in the goal and Townsend spent a long time explaining why it didn’t count to the imbecile commentator. Brazil moved upfield and the back-tracking James slid in and tripped Hulk. It was barely a free kick but the young man received a yellow card – the price of fame perhaps? Things got much worse for Colombia when David Luiz strode up and fired one his trade-mark up and down free-kicks off the fingers of Ospina and into the goal: a screamer and 2-0 Brazil. There was little to enjoy in this game so thanks be for a proper Brazilian free-kick at long last!
Bacca immediately replaced Gutierrez and was soon in action. His chip towards Ramos was claimed by Cesar. The red tide surged towards Brazil’s goal and the men in yellow blocked and headed the ball away. Yepes talked himself into the book – frankly I don’t care if players abuse officials who fail to do their job properly. Respect has to be earned and this referee earned none.
On 73, Brazil made a rare foray forwards. Oscar fed Neymar but his shot curled wide. Colombia were soon back attacking. Armero set up Cuadrado whose long shot drew a diving save from Cesar. Brazil were able to relieve the pressure briefly when Bacca fouled Thiago but soon James was bearing down on their area again. His pass through the back line found Bacca running in. Maicon played the striker onside and, as Luiz closed in, he nicked the ball over Cesar and went over the diving keeper – penalty! The proximity of Luiz saved the keeper from a red card. Instead he was awarded the final yellow of the match. James did a little stutter step and as Cesar dived to his left, the tournament’s top scorer rolled the ball into the other corner. 2-1.
Scenting a recovery, Colombia replaced Cuadrado with Porto’s Quintero. Colombia won successive corners but Brazil continued to defend their box. Fresh legs were introduced when Ramires replaced Hulk and Hernanes came on for Paulinho. Colombia’s next attack was halted by a raised flag. Then Zuniga made progress down the right forcing Oscar to concede a corner.
As Brazil cleared the ball it fell to Neymar, deep in his own half. With no chance of winning the ball Zuniga rammed his knee into the Brazilian’s back leaving him writing on the ground. Unbelievably the referee allowed play to continue till Oscar was fouled further up the park. He then came back – and did nothing. Yet Zuniga is the player who should have gone in the first half for putting studs into Hulk. FIFA should hang their heads in shame if they allow that degree of violence on the pitch to go unpunished. They could not act fast enough to discipline Suarez for his misdemeanour. Of course all the Italians wanted was a referee brave enough to send him off – not a ludicrous after the event ban. Brazil were also denied justice, this time by a Spanish coward.
As Neymar was taken away by ambulance, Hernanes came on for the last 2 minutes plus an extra 5. Thankfully, Colombian thuggery went unrewarded and Brazil safely negotiated those final minutes. A 2-1 win earned a semi-final with Germany next Tuesday. Man of the Match: David Luiz for a proper Brazilian World Cup goal.
Colombia are out of the competition but James Rodriguez rather looks the outstanding player at Brazil 2014. He could still win the golden boot. When things go their way, Colombia are a delight to watch but in this quarter final we saw their darker side. It lurks, as with so many South American sides, just below the surface. We saw it with Uruguay earlier in the competition – not just on the pitch but in the irrational way they closed ranks around Suarez. Fair Play my arse!
Fortunately Neymar will heal. He may even get away without surgery if he is lucky. FIFA must be breathing a huge sigh of relief, as must Zuniga – even if spineless football authorities let him get away with cruel assault, had he ended Neymar’s career Barca’s lawyers and insurers would not have been so remiss. Liverpool FC are probably thanking their lucky stars too. Had Neymar been out for an extended period there is no way Barca would have let Sanchez leave now.
- Thiago Silva 7′
- David Luiz 68′
- Rodríguez 80′ (pen)
- Brazil 51%
- Colombia 49%
- Brazil 13
- Colombia 11
- Brazil 5
- Colombia 2
- Brazil 4
- Colombia 6
- Brazil 31
- Colombia 23
Hummels headed the all important goal for Germany
France v Germany
4th July, Rio De Janeiro
01 Lloris, 02 Debuchy, 03 Evra, 06 Cabaye (Remy - 73'), 04 Varane, 05 Sakho (Koscielny - 71'), 19 Pogba, 14 Matuidi, 10 Benzema, 08 Valbuena (Giroud - 85'), 11 Griezmann
07 Cabella, 09 Giroud, 12 Mavuba, 13 Mangala, 15 Sagna, 16 Ruffier, 17 Digne, 18 Sissoko, 20 Remy, 21 Koscielny, 22 Schneiderlin, 23 Landreau
01 Neuer, 16 Lahm, 04 Höwedes, 06 Khedira (Booked), 20 Boateng, 05 Hummels, 07 Schweinsteiger (Booked), 18 Kroos (Kramer - 92'), 11 Klose (Schürrle - 69'), 08 Özil (Götze - 83'), 13 Müller
02 Großkreutz, 03 Ginter, 09 Schürrle, 10 Podolski, 12 Zieler, 14 Draxler, 15 Durm, 17 Mertesacker, 19 Götze, 22 Weidenfeller, 23 Kramer
After an outbreak of flu through out the squad, Germany recovered to go in this game seeking their 4th consecutive World Cup semi final, France who have never beaten Germany in a World Cup, had been very impressive in this tournament and must of fancied there chances
Germany kicked off, the first 8 minutes France sat back whilst the Germans held possession, but the first real chance fell to France, Germany lost the ball and France broke away Valbuena gets behind the defence and crossed for Benzema who should of done better, then just as you thought France were going to take control, Germany went and scored, a great free kick from Kroos found Hummels who scores with a strong header The goal spurred the Germans to gain in strength and they probably should of had a penalty, Debuchy seemed to pull the shirt of Klose, possibly would of got it if he hadn't of dived so theatrically, for the rest of the half France tried to push forward, but you always felt the Germans would hold firm,
Half time France 0 Germany 1
Second half started,, the very organised Germans were content with the score and started to kill the game, breaking down French attacks before they even got started, this made the Brazilian crowd very frustrated, I couldn't blame them, I was getting bored too, it had become obvious there weren't going to be any further goals, France just didn't seem to have it in them to breakdown the Germans,
Final Score France 0 Germany 1
So it's the Germans who make it through to another World Cup semi final, I really believe they are going to win this tournament, very efficient without any great flair, they are doing just enough in every game
- Hummels 12′
Ref: Néstor Pitana
- France 49%
- Germany 51%
- France 13
- Germany 9
- France 5
- Germany 3
- France 5
- Germany 3
- France 15
- Germany 18
In an inspired substitution, Van Gaal brought on Tim Krull for the penalty shoot out
Netherlands v Costa Rica
5th July, Salvador
01 Cillessen (Krul - 121'), 15 Kuyt, 05 Blind, 04 Martins Indi (Booked) (Huntelaar - 105' (Booked) ), 02 Vlaar, 03 de Vrij, 20 Wijnaldum, 10 Sneijder, 09 van Persie, 11 Robben, 21 Depay (Lens - 76')
07 Janmaat, 08 de Guzmán, 12 Verhaegh, 13 Veltman, 14 Kongolo, 16 Clasie, 17 Lens, 19 Huntelaar, 22 Vorm, 23 Krul
01 Navas, 16 Gamboa (Myrie - 79'), 15 Díaz Campbell (Booked), 04 Umaña (Booked), 03 Gonzalez (Booked), 02 Acosta (Booked), 09 Campbell (Ureña - 66'), 17 Tejeda Valverde (Cubero - 97'), 10 Ruiz, 05 Borges, 07 Bolaños
08 Myrie, 11 Barrantes, 12 Francis, 13 Granados Maroto, 14 Brenes, 18 Pemberton, 20 Calvo, 21 Ureña, 22 Cubero, 23 Cambronero
Costa Rica, restored to their favoured role of underdog after scraping through against Greece in the last round, almost found a way past the Netherlands and into the semi-finals of the World Cup. But eventually it was the big names of Van Persie, Robben and Schneijder who prevailed thanks to their experience of the big occasion and an act of genius from their manager, Louis Van Gaal.
As extra time wore down and the Dutch contrived to miss numerous golden opportunities to seal it without having to resort to penalty kicks, every omen was pointing towards a Costa Rica victory. Their goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, was in inspired form, as he has been throughout this World Cup. A string of fine saves from the Levante keeper will have not gone unnoticed by the scouts of the big European clubs. Los Ticos were clearly aiming for penalties and the opportunity to use their recent experience in defeating the Greeks in a similar manner. Meanwhile, the Oranje were looking increasingly desperate to avoid spot kicks thanks to their collective national fear of the penalty shoot-out, a mental aberration arguably greater than that of the English.
But when Van Persie inexplicably missed a tap-in from two yards and Navas saved from Vlaar’s header, they were passed over into the hands of their nemesis. Van Gaal, however, had a masterstroke up his sleeve. He removed their goalkeeper from the action and replaced him with Tim Krul. Regardless of whether he had shown better form with penalties in training, this was a move simply designed to tell all of his players that they were going to fight their nemesis, the penalty shoot-out, head on. They weren’t going to bow down and disappear meekly from the competition. It was a move that represented the team’s new-found fight which Van Gaal has instilled in them. It gave his men the confidence needed to overcome a World Cup penalty shoot-out. Van Gaal, in this one master-stroke, had single-handedly shifted the momentum away from Los Ticos and towards his own team.
And so those big names in orange all stepped up with confidence and Keylor Navas, who has had two babies born in Costa Rica named after him since the beginning of the World Cup, barely had a chance with any of them. The Dutch found the net with minimum fuss while Tim Krul used questionable tactics to distract the Central Americans. At a time when it should have been the Dutch questioning their own mental fortitude, it was the Costa Ricans who went behind with an early miss and were never able to find a way back into the tie thanks to the clinical nature of the Dutch penalties. The job of putting Los Ticos out of their misery was left to Umana, the experienced old pro who had scored the final penalty to secure victory against Greece. This time his penalty was palmed away by Krul and the Dutch celebrated.
Up to that point, the Dutch had once again failed to repeat the form they found in their opening victory against Spain. Playing three at the back with Kuyt and Blind as wing-backs and a three-pronged attack of Robben, Van Persie and Depay, they were largely nullified by a determined defensive performance from Costa Rica. The first 70 minutes were turgid but then the game became fascinating for the last 20 minutes of normal time. In extra-time, as the Dutch grew increasingly desperate to avoid penalties, things became breathless. Chances came and went for the Dutch, while Costa Rica also had excellent opportunities on the break to win the game. But luck conspired to keep Los Ticos in the game and before the final whistle went, Van Gaal plotted his masterstroke by throwing on Tim Krul with seconds remaining. In so doing, he delivered to his country a place in the second of two South America vs Europe semi-finals.
After Extra Time
Netherlands Win 4-3 on Penalties
Ref: Ravshan Irmatov
- Netherlands 67%
- Costa Rica 33%
- Netherlands 20
- Costa Rica 6
- Netherlands 8
- Costa Rica 1
- Netherlands 11
- Costa Rica 1
- Netherlands 15
- Costa Rica 13
Argentina win and Messi doesn't score shock!
Argentina v Belgium
5th July, Brasilia
01 Romero, 04 Zabaleta, 23 Basanta, 14 Mascherano, 15 Demichelis, 02 Garay, 07 Di María (Pérez - 33'), 06 Biglia (Booked), 09 Higuaín (Gago - 81'), 10 Messi, 22 Lavezzi (Palacio - 71')
03 Campagnaro, 05 Gago, 08 Pérez, 11 Rodríguez, 12 Orión, 13 Fernández, 17 Fernández, 18 Palacio, 19 Álvarez, 20 Agüero, 21 Andujar
01 Courtois, 02 Alderweireld (Booked), 05 Vertonghen, 06 Witsel, 15 van Buyten, 04 Kompany, 11 Mirallas (Mertens - 60'), 08 Fellaini, 17 Origi (Lukaku - 59'), 07 De Bruyne, 10 Hazard (Booked) (Chadli - 75' )
03 Vermaelen, 09 Lukaku, 12 Mignolet, 13 Bossut, 14 Mertens, 16 Defour, 18 Lombaerts, 19 Dembélé, 20 Januzaj, 21 Vanden Borre, 22 Chadli, 23 Ciman
I like Argentina, now. I didn't when they beat the Netherlands in the 1978 final, but since then I think the xenophobia shown in this country after the Falklands war and then the 'hand of god' incident made me favour them. I once bought an Argentina shirt for training when the younger members of my team started going on about the 'Argies' around the 2002 World Cup when England were due to play them. I also like the fact that they wear stripes, which, despite what others may say, I think look like proper football shirts (but each to their own).
The Estadio Nacional in Brasilia looked really good on the TV, with it's steep looking stands, although the crowd being raised up at pitch side was a little odd looking.
Demichelis came into the Argentine defence, and for Belgium Origi was once again preferred to Lukaku, and Mirallas started.
Belgium started off on the front foot, taking the game to Argentina, but Argentina looked like they could step up and attack at any moment, and when they did they looked dangerous, Di Maria had a good chance and soon after, Higuain found himself on his own on the penalty spot with the ball, but couldn't get his feet sorted out and the chance was gone. All this in the first 5 minutes.
On 7 minutes Higuain spun and shot from the edge of the area as the ball bounced towards him and smashed it into the corner of the net. It was a fantastic goal which came from Kompany moving up field and losing the ball in the centre circle, Messi picked it up and did what he does best, he kept the ball and played a simple but effective pass to a team mate. Di Maria was actually trying to pass to Zabaleta who was running on the outside, but the ball took a defection off a Belgian defender, bounced to Higuain and his first time shot was brilliant.
The goal seemed to spur Belgium on but although they had a lot of the ball they lacked a quality final pass or shot. It was 25 minutes before they tested Romaro in the Argentine goal.
I love watching Messi, there's no fancy showing off, his play is effortlessly brilliant. Sadly the game isn't as captivating as a whole.
Around the 30 minute mark Di Maria had to go off, he seemed to have strained a thigh muscle shooting a couple of minutes earlier. He was replaced by Perez. Di Maria may not have been in the blistering form he showed for Real Madrid over the last season, but he does a lot of work and always carries a threat.
Close to the end of the first half Messi won a free kick on the edge of the area, but he hit it over the bar. Surprisingly Messi for once lost the ball in midfield and Belgium attacked, Mirallas came very close to equalising with a near post header.
We were watching this game round at my parents' house, and tea was served during half time. Although I'd eaten mine by the time the second half kicked off, my 16 month old niece was still throwing food at me, including chips she's nicked from my mum's plate, so I was a little distracted.
Belgium dared to have a bit of possession and forayed into Argentina's half, but it wasn't long before the South Americans took over again and Higuain had a shot defected past the near post. The next time Belgium made it up to the Argentina penalty area they lost the ball and Argentina broke, Higuain received the ball and ran at the defence, he nutmegged Kompany but saw his shot hit the bar.
With half an hour to go Lukaku replaced Origi, and Mertens came on for an unhappy looking Merallas. It seemed to spur Belgium on and Fellaini went close with a header. Belgium then had their best spell with a prolonged period of possession, but very few chances.
The game got a bit scrappy, niggly fouls and hurried shots, and not a lot of quality.
With ten minutes to go Higuain went off to a standing ovation. Argentina were happy sitting back and letting Belgium have the ball. Apart from a couple of chances and a goal mouth scramble, they didn't really take advantage.
In added on time, Belgium could, and maybe should have equalised and then Messi should have made it 2-0 after he broke and was one on one with the keeper. Neither happened and it ended 1-0. Argentina deserved the win but it wasn't the best game, and although Messi can win them games, and could take them to the World Cup the way Maradona did in 1986, they will miss Di Maria if he isn't fit enough for the semi-final.
- Higuaín 8′
Ref: Nicola Rizzoli
- Argentina 46%
- Belgium 54%
- Argentina 10
- Belgium 10
- Argentina 2
- Belgium 1
- Argentina 3
- Belgium 4
- Argentina 11
- Belgium 14