Tight across the board, the final eight teams in the World Cup played out tense but entertaining affairs for a spot in the semi-finals, as Livio Caferoglu writes.
France and Germany got the quarter-finals under way, but Mats Hummels’ early goal put the tie to bed after just 13 minutes. Didier Deschamps’ side were expected to take inspiration from their positive performances en route to through the Last 16, but no such initiative was forthcoming due to a combination of peerless German possession and lethargy on Les Bleus’ part.
July 04 - 17:00 France 0-1 Germany (Rio De Janeiro)
Scorers: Hummels 13 (G)
France: Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Sakho (Koscielny 72), Evra; Pogba, Cabaye (Remy 73), Matuidi; Valbuena (Giroud 85), Benzema, Griezmann
Germany: Neuer; Lahm, Boateng, Hummels, Howedes; Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Kroos (Kramer 92); Ozil (Gotze 83), Klose (Schurrle 69), Muller
Ref: Pitana (ARG)
David Luiz’s stunning free kick was overshadowed by the performance of referee Carlos Velasco Carballo, who was unwilling to assert his authority in Brazil’s controversial 2-1 victory over Colombia. The physical nature of the match was felt by none more so than prodigal duo James Rodriguez and Neymar, the latter of whom suffered a fractured vertebrae.
July 04 - 21:00 Brazil 2-1 Colombia (Fortaleza)
Scorers: Thiago Silva 7 (B), David Luiz 69 (B), James Rodriguez pen 78 (C)
Brazil: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Paulinho (Hernanes 86), Fernandinho; Hulk (Ramires 82), Oscar, Neymar (Henrique 88); Fred
Colombia: Ospina; Zuniga, Zapata, Yepes, Armero; Sanchez, Guarin; Cuadrado (Quintero 80), James Rodriguez, Ibarbo (Adrian Ramos 46); Gutierrez (Bacca 70)
Ref: Carballo (ESP)
The Selecao’s arch-rivals Argentina featured in a far less-remarkable encounter with Belgium, which was decided inside eight minutes by Gonzalo Higuain. The Red Devils failed to threaten the Argentine resistance for most part, and it was not until the last 15 minutes that they threw the kitchen sink at their opponents.
July 05 - 17:00 Argentina 1-0 Belgium (Brasilia)
Scorers: Higuain 8 (A)
Argentina: Romero; Zabaleta, Garay, Demichelis, Basanta; Biglia, Mascherano, Di Maria (Perez 33); Lavezzi (Palacio 70), Messi, Higuain (Gago 81)
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Kompany, Vertonghen; Fellaini, Witsel; Mirallas (Mertens 59), De Bruyne, E Hazard (Chadli 75); Origi (Lukaku 59)
Ref: Rizzoli (ITA)
Last but not least, the Netherlands needed to rely on some maverick management from Louis van Gaal to edge past Costa Rica on penalties. The incoming Manchester United boss unsuspectingly brought Tim Krul on for Jasper Cillessen after a stalemate over 120 minutes, and the Newcastle goalkeeper went on to save two spot-kicks.
July 05 - 21:00 Netherlands 0-0 Costa Rica (4-3 on pens) (Salvador)
Penalties: Borges (goal, C), Van Persie (goal, N), Ruiz (saved, C), Robben (goal, N), Gonzalez (goal, C), Sneijder (goal, N), Bolanos (goal, C), Kuyt (goal, N), Umana (saved, C)
Netherlands: Cillessen (Krul 121); De Vrij, Vlaar, Martins Indi (Huntelaar 106); Kuyt, Wijnaldum, Sneijder, Blind; Robben, Van Persie, Depay (Lens 76)
Costa Rica: Navas; Gamboa (Myrie 79), Umana, Gonzalez, Acosta, Diaz; Ruiz, Borges, Tejeda (Cubero 97), Bolanos; Campbell (Urena 66)
Ref: Irmatov (UZB)