Fernandinho's Brazil reach semi-finals
- 04 July 2014 23:35
- Posted by @roline_mcfc
There is certain to be a City star in the semi-finals of this year's World Cup as Fernandinho and Brazil secured their place in the last four with a thrilling 2-1 win over Colombia.
Goals from Thiago Silva and David Luiz proved enough for the tournament hosts, who survived late pressure from the visitors after James Rodriguez pulled a goal back with just over ten minutes of normal time remaining.
Fernandinho completed 90 minutes in the encounter. Throughout the first half in particular, the 29-year-old worked tirelessly to break up Colombia's play, sliding into full-bodied tackles and winning back possession in dangerous areas.
When on the ball, he was eager to instigate attacks but stuck to his main task of making life difficult for dangermen Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado.
In the second period, the midfielder seemed less inclined to become stuck into the action, perhaps in the knowledge a yellow card would rule him out of a potential semi-final.
Buoyed by the deafening support of their fans, Brazil started the brighter of the two sides and secured the perfect start to the clash, as Silva bundled in Neymar's corner after just seven minutes.
In a breathless, open first half, both sides sought to utilise the acres of space available to them but it was the hosts that created the better chances, often carving open the Colombia defence but struggling to beat David Ospina or keep their efforts on target to increase their lead before the break.
The second half was very different. A series of fouls meant the game was frustratingly halted every few moments, though it was sparked back into life with just over twenty minutes left.
When Brazil were awarded a free-kick 35 yards out, Luiz unleashed an unstoppable thunderbolt into the back of the net to double the hosts' advantage, sparking scenes of delirium.
With a two-goal cushion, many expected Luiz Felipe Scolari's side to then sit back and see the game out but Colombia had other ideas and pushed forward in search of a route back into the game.
On 79 minutes, they were presented with a lifeline when Julio Cesar up-ended Carlos Bacca in the area. Without hesitation, the referee pointed to the spot and Rodriguez stepped up to convert for his sixth goal of the tournament.
From then on, Colombia piled on the pressure whilst Brazil seemed content to uncharacteristically hoof the ball anywhere.
With five added minutes, there was certainly time for a twist in the tail but it never came and Fernandinho's Brazil held on for the victory.
The hosts join Germany in the semi-finals, as a solitary Mats Hummels header proved enough to dash France's chances of lifting the World Cup for the second time.
City's Bacary Sagna was an unused substitute for Les Bleus, who fell behind in the 13th minute and failed to recover in a game of few chances.
Mathieu Valbuena and Karim Benzema came closest to netting an equaliser for Didier Deschamps' side but Manuel Neuer was equal to the efforts.