Brazil barely hold off Colombia to reach semifinals with 2-1 win

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle
Brazil's David Luiz celebrates after scoring his side's second goal on a free kick during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Brazil and Colombia at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Friday, July 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Brazil's David Luiz celebrates after scoring his side's second goal on a free kick during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Brazil and Colombia at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Friday, July 4, 2014

Brazil's David Luiz celebrates after scoring his side's second goal on a free kick during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Brazil and Colombia at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Friday, July 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

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Brazil reached the World Cup semifinals with a nervy 2-1 win over Colombia that came down to the very end. It was a result that didn't come a whole lot easier than the shootout win over Chile in the previous round and it came at a price with Brazil captain Thiago Silva now suspended for the next round due to yellow card accumulation and Neymar getting stretchered off in the 88th minute after taking a knee to the back.

Brazil got off to a fast start when Silva scored in just the seventh minute as it took time for Colombia to find the form that has carried them to this point of the tournament. The referee once again proved helpful to the host nation as call after call went their way. Brazil had a whopping 31 fouls in the match, but only two yellow cards, both of which came in the second half.

[Photos: World Cup quarterfinal - Brazil vs. Colombia]

David Luiz pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 69th minute with a stunning free kick, but Colombia tried to fight back. James Rodriguez scored his World Cup leading sixth goal in five matches from the penalty spot in the 80th minute to give Colombia a bit of hope as Brazil again showed weakness. Despite a couple of close calls, Brazil somehow managed to hold on through give minutes of added time and win 2-1.

It was tears of frustration and disappointed at full time for Colombia's James Rodriguez, who has been the tournament's best played to this point. But Brazil's Dani Alves and David Luiz showed their sportsmanship in delaying their celebrations to console him and praise his remarkable string of performances.

Brazil will now face Germany, who beat France 1-0 earlier in the day, in a semifinal between two of the World Cup's traditional powers. Brazil have had a healthy slice of good fortune to reach this point and you have to wonder how much longer it will last.

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