Friday, July 04, 2014

Brazil All The Way

Brazil star Neymar out of the World Cup with fractured vertebrae
Brazil's team doctor says Neymar will miss the rest of the World Cup after breaking a vertebrae during the team's quarterfinal win over Colombia...... Neymar was kneed in the back by Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga in the second half of Brazil's 2-1 win, and was in tears when he was carried off the field on a stretcher...... He was taken to a local clinic and team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said after the match that the star striker had broken his third vertebrae...... Neymar is the Brazil's biggest star and has scored four goals for the team so far in the tournament..... Brazil plays Germany in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Brazil advances to World Cup semifinals with 2-1 win over Colombia
Brazil dominated in virtually every statistical category, especially possession, controlling the ball nearly 60% of the time. Despite that, Colombia appeared to have tied the score in the 67th minute when Mario Yepes scored after a wild scramble in front of the net....... But the goal was waved off by an offside call. And moments later Luiz made it 2-0 -- a score that proved important when Colombia finally got on the scoreboard with a penalty kick in the 80th minute. Not surprisingly the goal came from James Rodriguez, who leads this World Cup with six scores........ The victory might yet prove to be a costly one, though, since Neymar, Brazil's star playmaker, left the field with a back injury in the 88th minute.

World Cup 2014: Brazil Beats Colombia in Quarterfinal
Streets across the country cleared out when Brazil played, but they nevertheless filled with invisible noise that streamed from restaurants and homes. Fireworks sizzled in every major city to announce every goal, every win. And after the games, the music was turned all the way up again....... The party continued, even louder, on Friday night. Showing its most spirited performance yet in this quarterfinal game, Brazil dispatched an upstart Colombia team, 2-1, in front of a deafening sellout crowd at Estadio Castelao....... The team this summer has only ever had one goal: to win its sixth World Cup trophy in front of its home fans. The next step will come Tuesday, when Brazil faces Germany in a mouthwatering semifinal matchup...... After Brazil squeezed past Chile in the Round of 16 last week, emerging from that game only after enduring a nail-biting penalty shootout, several players collapsed to the grass in tears. Whether it was acceptable for the players to cry so much became a matter of public discourse here. .... Colombia had become the darlings of the tournament while playing an upbeat brand of fast-passing soccer, scoring copious goals and celebrating them with unbalanced joy. If Brazil was the team with everything at stake, Colombia seemed like the team with nothing to lose.

World Cup: Brazil: Still Wobbling, Still Winning
In the space of 10 anxious minutes on Friday, the Brazilian fans inside the Estádio Castelão watched the beginnings of a nightmare unfold...... Colombia pulled within a goal. Then Neymar was stretchered off with a back injury. If the Seleção was going to throw away a two-goal lead and this quarterfinal, this is how it would unravel...... Goalkeeper Julio Cesar, the hero of the round of 16 ..... For its first trip back to the final four in 12 years, Brazil will face Germany on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte after Die Nationalmannschaft's 1-0 victory over France. It will be their first World Cup meeting since the 2002 final, when Brazil sealed its fifth World Cup title. And ever since then, the sixth has been a national obsession. ..... All isn't perfect. If Brazil is to punch its ticket to the final at the Maracanã on July 13, it will have to do it without Silva, the team's captain, who will miss the semi because of accumulated yellow cards. And Neymar's status for the next game, after a knee to the back, wasn't immediately clear. ..... In a week that the mental health of the Brazilian players became a matter of national concern, it wasn't their brains that fans should have been worried about. It was their hearts and lungs and legs. Inside the throbbing Estádio Castelão, the two sides produced the most frantic half-hour of the World Cup. If Germany-France was a controlled exercise in tactical efficiency, this was a pickup game on fast-forward. ..... The Seleção played physical soccer, clobbering Colombia's playmakers when it needed to, and broke with powerful runners all over the field. ...... Colombia's Rodriguez, one of the lights of the tournament, had the space to carry the ball for one solo run of nearly 40 yards—but only once. The rest of the time, Fernandinho and his midfield cohorts used any means necessary to close him down. Rodriguez, 22, wouldn't worry Brazil again until late. ..... Goalkeeper David Ospina strung together enough saves to keep Colombia in the game for a few mad breaks of its own. In the first breathless 30 minutes alone, the teams combined for 27 so-called dangerous attacks, according to FIFA statistics. .... But the only trace of them on the scoreboard at halftime was Silva's seventh-minute goal. Neymar curled in a corner kick from the left that eluded both sides as it shot through the box, until it hit Silva. Unmarked at the far post, he knocked it in with his knee to push the already-deafening noise inside the stadium to something like a space-shuttle launch....... Make no mistake, Brazil remains a flawed team. The side doesn't have a forward who can keep up with the invention of Neymar—Fred, Hulk and Jo have hardly captured the imagination at this tournament. And the defense is shaky. Its calamitous handling of a second-half free kick, which wound up with Colombia putting the ball in the net, was only absolved by the an offside call......Brazil flirted with elimination before the quarterfinals. Chile was inches from knocking out the Seleção in extra time with a shot against the crossbar....... The tears several players shed before that shootout were the trigger for the national conversation about the Seleção's mental strength. As the nation wondered whether its team could cope with the weight of 200 million fans, Scolari found himself defending everything from Silva's captaincy to his use of a sports psychologist...... There were plenty more tears after the final whistle on Friday, too. But once more, Brazil had held its nerve.

Brazil, Germany set up semifinal at World Cup
Brazil-Colombia didn’t quite live up to its pre-match billing as a battle of two brilliant goal-scoring young talents — Rodriguez and Brazil’s Neymar. ..... Rodriguez put Colombia on the score-sheet and made the last 15 minutes very uncomfortable for Brazil with a coolly-taken penalty that took his tournament-leading tally of goals to six. ..... Incredibly for two powerhouse teams that have won eight World Cups between them, the Germany-Brazil semifinal next Tuesday in Belo Horizonte will be just the second time the two nations have met at the showcase tournament. Brazil won the first meeting: 2-0 in the World Cup final of 2002. ..... Brazil will be without Silva, its captain, against Germany after he picked up his second yellow card of the tournament for a foolish foul on Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina. Brazil also has injury worries with Neymar, who was stretchered off after Juan Zuniga kneed him in the back.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

My July 4th Weekend Plans: World Cup Soccer

But of course.

Google predicts France, Brazil, Argentina and Netherlands will win. I agree with three of the four. But I don't see how Germany could lose. We shall see.

But if France does win, Brazil will beat them to go into the final. To meet Argentina? I hope.