CHICAGO --The first day of the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup witnessed the highest ranked team left in the tournament, Germany, face their traditional foes from France before a capacity throng at Maracana in Rio on Independence Day in America.
In the 13th minute, the Germans struck as Toni Kroos kicked a perfect pass to the box and Mats Hummels with the header past the outstretched hands of French keeper Hugo Lloris. France had its chances in the first half, but the best goal keeper in the world, Manuel Neuer, was equal to the task in the 24th and 34th minutes.
In the second half, France pushed Germany to the limit. But Neuer was magnificent, especially in the 95th minute when he made a great hand save against Karim Benzema in the final seconds. So Germany moves on to the semi-finals to face Brazil.
The second game of the day took place at Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza. The stadium was packed with the yellow jerseys of Brazil and they didn't take long to send them screaming. Thiago Silva took a crossing pass and scored when the ball hit just above his knee and into the right corner of the goal. The half ended with the hosts leading 1-nil.
The 2nd half witnessed a number of yellow cards issued; the biggest was to Brazil's great defender Thiago Silva. It's his second of this knockout round and so he will not play in the semifinal matchup.
The home side added some insurance when in the 68th minute, defender David Luiz scored his second goal of the tournament on a free kick from a long way out. It sailed high past the wall of Colombian defenders then dipped at the right time, skipping off the hands of keeper David Ospina and into the right corner of the net. In the 80th minute, Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar was called for interference and Colombia was awarded a penalty kick. Their star striker, James Rodriguez was right on the money and the Brazilian lead was cut to a goal. Now, the faithful in the yellow jerseys were worried. The Colombians had a few chances in the final 10 minutes but they were too anxious and collected too many offside calls.
Brazil sends "The Coffee Men" of Colombia back home, eliminated from the World Cup 2-1, and more than 200 million people are breathing a sigh of relief.
So now we will have a matchup I've been waiting for all tournament long. The semi-final game between Brazil and Germany July 8th at 3pm. Brazil will be without Silva because of yellow cards and in the 89th minute, the great Brazilian forward Neymar Jr was carted off to the locker room on a stretcher. I gotta believe he will play on Tuesday.
Saturday will see Argentina face Belgium and I like Kevin DeBruyne and his teammates to beat the great Lionel Messi and his gang in Carolina blue. Game two will feature the Netherlands and Costa Rica and I have the Dutch advancing. Enjoy the weekend everyone.
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Since joining ABC7 in 1982, Jim Rose has become a major force in Chicago sports broadcasting. He currently serves as sports anchor/reporter for ABC7 News in Chicago's top-rated 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts. He is an avid fan of the World Cup! Learn more about Jim