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Brazil reaches last four after holding off Colombia

Jul 10, 2014 - 12:46 AM Fortaleza, Brazil ( - Brazil advanced to the World Cup semifinals on Friday for the first time since 2002 as defenders Thiago Silva and David Luiz provided the goals in a 2-1 win over Colombia at the Estadio Castelao.

Silva scored after seven minutes to put Brazil in front in the quarterfinal contest, and defensive partner Luiz fired home a brilliant free kick in the 68th to double the advantage for the hosts.

Colombia pulled a goal back 10 minutes from time when James Rodriguez scored from the penalty spot, but Brazil held off a late charge to set up a semifinal meeting with Germany on Tuesday.

Brazil went out in the quarterfinal round of the past two World Cups, but the hosts got off to a great start on Friday as a corner kick from Neymar found an unmarked Silva at the back post, allowing him to turn the ball home from close range.

"We knew that Brazil would have learned something from the Chile game and that they'd play better," said Colombia head coach Jose Pekerman. "We went into this game without conceding in our last match and then we went and let one in straightaway. It allowed the Brazilians to relax a little and put a bit of pressure on us, causing us to stop playing the kind of football we've been producing up to now."

Juan Cuadrado had a good chance for Colombia four minutes later when he picked up a loose ball at the top of the penalty area and fired a shot toward goal that took a slight deflection on its way past the right post.

Hulk and Neymar worked a nice one-two on the left wing in the 20th minute that resulted in Hulk taking the return pass and drilling a low shot that forced Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina to parry the ball to safety.

Seven minutes later Hulk was at it again, this time settling a driven cross from Marcelo and forcing Ospina to get down once again to make the save.

Silva picked up a pointless yellow card in the 64th when he collided with Ospina as the netminder attempted to punt the ball forward, ruling the Brazil captain out of the semifinal with Germany through suspension.

Four minutes later Brazil was up 2-0 as Hulk drew a foul on Colombia's Rodriguez, allowing Luiz to step forward and hammer a right-footed blast inside the right post from 30 yards.

Colombia found a way back into the match 10 minutes from time when Rodriguez slipped a pass into the box for substitute Carlos Bacca, who was brought down by on-rushing goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Rodriguez sent Cesar the wrong way from the penalty spot to cut the deficit in half, but Colombia was unable to find an equalizer as Mario Yepes had a goal ruled out for offsides.

"Colombia have had a great World Cup and have played some really good football," said Luiz. "Today we really went for it, though, and played the kind of football everyone likes watching, with a lot of intensity and going for goal the whole time."