The quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil started with four European teams and four teams from the Americas splitting the spots evenly. The round ended in the same way with Germany and the Netherlands advancing for Europe while bitter rivals Argentina and host nation Brazil form South America also advance to the semi-finals. Going home are European pair France and Belgium as well as Costa Rica and Colombia.
The round opened with a match between two fierce European rivals, Germany and France. The Germans scored an early goal via Mats Hummels which turmed out to be the only goal of the match contrary to the last minute surprises that were the trend in the round of 16. The group stage was a virtual goal fest but as the tournament is progressing, the number of goals being allowed seems to be declining. Joachim Loew's squad will now face a big challenge at Belo Horizonte when they meet the host nation Brazil.
Germany 1-0 France Match Report
Brazil and Colombia engaged in a very physical match where the host nation came out on top. Physical play is very typical in South America often seen in the Copa Libertadores and domestic leagues. This time, despite winning the match, Brazil will have to face the consequences of rough play as their captain, Thiago Silva will be missing their semi-final against Germany due to a double yellow suspension. More importantly, their star striker Neymar suffered a broken vertebra after being tackled from behind by Colombia's Camilo Zuniga. Neymar was taken out at the 88th minute on a stretcher while still writhing in pain. Reports have since confirmed that he will no longer be able to participate any further in the World Cup.
At the end of the match, Brazil's David Luiz, one of the game's scorers was seen gesturing to the crowd to applaud the efforts of a clearly heartbroken James Rodriguez who, until this point has been a revelation and the top scorer of the tournament.
Brazil 2-1 Colombia Match Report
(Silva 7', David Luiz 69') (Rodriguez 80' PEN)
Argentina menawhile, have set up a semi-final clash against 2010 runners-up Netherlands after defeating Belgium. La Albiceleste also scored early through Napoli's Gonzalo HIguain who found the net for the first time this tournament. Belgium were unable to respond to Argentina's attack and they are now heading home. Argentina will also be playing with a slight handicap for the rest of the tournament as Angel Di Maria has been ruled out after suffering a thigh injury.
Argentina 1-0 Belgium Match Report
The Netherlands and Costa Rica provided the only match in the quarterfinals that went into extra time and eventually into a penalty shoot-out. The Dutch were able to avoid the same fate against Mexico in the round of 16 when they scored a very late equaliser and an even later penalty kick to win the game after trailing for most of the match. This time, the Oranje found themselves in a goalless match nearing the end of extra time and they brought out their secret weapon. In a surprise move, Van Gaal brought in Tim Krul to replace Jasper Cillessen to man the Dutch goal just in time for the penalty shoot-out. The move proved to be a crucial decision as the substitute Krul saved two spot kicks from Ruiz and Orena to help the Dutch advance into the semi-finals.
Netherlands 0-0 Costa Rica Match Report
(Netherlands win on penalties 4-3)