FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil made its way into the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 12 years, with goals coming from defenders Thiago Silva and David Luiz in a 2-1 win over Colombia on Friday. Brazil, which had been eliminated in the quarterfinals at the last two World Cups, will next play Germany on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.
Silva gave Brazil the lead in the seventh minute, scoring with his left knee after a corner from Neymar passed through the Colombian defense. He celebrated the goal by pointing to the emblem on his jersey and shouting, "This is Brazil, this is Brazil."
Luiz added the second from a free kick in the 69th, sending a swerving long-range shot off the side of his foot into the top of the net. Colombia got one back in the 80th. James Rodriguez scored his tournament-leading sixth goal from the penalty spot after Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar brought down substitute Carlos Bacca inside the area.
Rodriguez tried to control the pace of the match at the Arena Castelao, but it was Brazil that created most of the scoring chances as Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina had to make a series of saves in the first half alone. The Colombians tried to pressure in the end after Rodriguez's penalty, but Brazil held on with tough defending.
"This is a very tough moment for us," Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said. "We always had the dream of winning this match even though we knew Brazil would be a very tough opponent. We knew how decisive this was, and that any mistake would cost us."
Colombia was coming off four straight wins, playing some of the most impressive football of the tournament. And the Colombians, playing in the quarterfinals for the first time, had entered the match with an offensive team that had scored 11 goals, second only to the Netherlands.
"After not playing in the World Cup for so long, we were able to show the value of the Colombian football and the talent of some of our players," said Pekerman, an Argentine. "They showed great spirit and presence of mind. They came to play a great World Cup, not just to participate."
There was a lot of talk about Rodriguez and Neymar before the match, but the 22-year-old forwards struggled to create in the physical encounter. Rodriguez did score the late penalty for Colombia, stutter-stepping before going left as Cesar dove the other way. Neymar, meanwhile, left on a stretcher after being kneed in the back late in the match. The Brazilian star was apparently crying in pain as he was carried out of the field, and there is no word yet on the severity of the injury and if he'll be available for the semifinals.
Silva was the crucial player for Brazil, but he will miss the match against Germany after getting his second yellow card of the tournament for trying to keep Ospina from putting the ball back in play.
Colombia had a goal disallowed in the 66th minute for offside. Veteran defender Mario Yepes found the net from close range after a scramble inside the penalty area but the linesman had already stopped play.
Brazil is trying to become the first host to win the World Cup since France in 1998. At the last two World Cups, Brazil lost to the Netherlands in the quarterfinals in 2010 and to France in 2006.
The team hadn't made it to the semifinals since it won its fifth world title in South Korea and Japan in 2002. It defeated Germany 2-0 in the final, the sides' only World Cup meeting ahead of Tuesday.
Here's how Brazil survived and advanced to the semifinals: