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Hosts edge into last four

04 Jul 2014 22:32:14

Hosts edge into last four

David Luiz thundered home one of the World Cup's finest goals as Brazil progressed to the semi-finals, disposing of Colombia in an enthralling battle.

However, the 2-1 victory was tinged with concern after star man Neymar left the field on a stretcher in the closing stages.

The immense pressure of being the host nation and favourites showed in their last-16 tie, with Luiz Felipe Scolari's side requiring penalties and a dollop of good fortune to see off Chile.

Another South American rival awaited at the quarter-final juncture, with Luiz's outstanding 35-yard free-kick decisive in a 2-1 win after which one of the main talking points will be Neymar's fitness.

The 22-year-old, so key to the Selecao, went to ground in agony during the closing stages after taking a knee to the back from Juan Zuniga, leaving the field in tears on a stretcher.

Brazil will be sweating on their star man's fitness ahead of their semi-final against Germany, which captain Thiago Silva will definitely miss after incurring a suspension for his booking at the Estadio Castelao.

The skipper played a key role in the Selecao's progression in Fortaleza, though, defending resolutely after opening the scoring inside seven minutes.

It was a lead Brazil worked hard to extend and, having seen a Mario Yepes goal ruled out for offside, they struck with aplomb midway through the second half, with Luiz sending home an outstanding 35-yard free-kick to send the nation into delirium.

James Rodriguez, the competition's top scorer, added to his haul with a penalty but Brazil rode out a nervy final 10 minutes to progress, with attentions now undoubtedly turning to the fitness of Neymar.


PA

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