It certainly wasn't a vintage World Cup performance or even a particularly-entertaining one for most of the night, but, with so much on the line, the quarter-final sides were probably obligated to take that sharp right back out of Crazytown. Fortunately for us, though, that turn was taken with a little too much speed, causing the metaphorical buses to go over on two wheels briefly and blow fire out of the exhaust pipes.
Brazil scored early, with Thiago Silva chasing a corner kick at the back post as the Colombia defence all chased David Luiz. The longer-serving PSG man did well to hook the ball into the net as everyone's favourite upside-down mop failed to get a head on it. After taking such an early lead, it should have been game over and Brazil into the semi-final, but it wasn't.
The hosts struggled to impose themselves on the match through the rest of the first half, though Colombia weren't really able to do so either. Despite the lack of positive, footballing action, there was no lack of tetchy, foul-y action. Through a combination of poor challenges, a lenient referee, and the magnitude of the occasion, both sides went into the break threatening to brawl it out in the second half.
Unfortunately for fans of senseless violence, the impending brawl never came to pass. It never truly threatening again either, as both teams took the half to cool down a bit. Brazil flirted with danger by sitting deeper on their lead and allowing Colombia to come at them. After twenty minutes of mixed, but positive pressure in which they couldn't find an equaliser, Colombia conceded a free kick from range.
Up stepped Former Blue* David Luiz, who performed his party piece, belting it past the Colombian keeper, who, in truth, might have done better. The stadium in Fortaleza erupted with joy as the Geezer in Chief sprinted towards the corner flag in utter joy and delirium. Brazil were up 2-0 and surely home and hosed.
*[Never going to get used to that.]
It should have been, but, again, it wasn't. Just minutes later, the Colombian attack breached the Brazilian defence. With David Luiz covering the run, Julio Cesar flew in recklessly, earning himself a yellow card and, more-importantly, Colombia a penalty. As you'd expect, the mercurial James Rodriguez strode forward to put his country back in the match.
He did. He converted well to halve the hosts' lead and truly put the cat among the pigeons. Instead of pressing on to regain their lead, the tiring Brazilians continued to sit back and invite pressure. With Brazil already on the ropes, their chief inspiration, Neymar, had to go off injured. With a better invitation than they could have ever expected, Colombia pushed and pushed looking for the knock-out blow . It never came. It's arguable whether it should have.
In the end, the Seleção deserved the win. Colombia simply couldn't beat them, despite the pressure. It may be simplistic, but, if you want to win, you have to beat the other team. Brazil march on, still undefeated at home in living memory. Next time out, they'll face a German side growing in confidence with every match and looking every bit a potential finalist. It won't be easy, not least because Thiago Silva picked up a silly second yellow of the tournament while challenging the Colombian goalkeeper.
It was a quiet day for Chelsea's Brazilians, really. Apart from David Luiz, whose marvellous free kick doesn't truly count as a Chelsea involvement anyway, only Oscar saw significant time in the match. As usual, Oscar's attacking instincts took a back seat to those of Neymar. He was exceptional in his more-defensive role, as he almost always is. Ramires got a cameo at the end, but he had little real impact, in fairness, but he didn't make any major mistakes either. Willian was left on the bench.