In our first semi final we get to see the cutting precision and technical ability of Germany against the somewhat ragtag football of the home Brazilians. Brazil again snuck by Colombia on the strength of their star center backs, Thiago Silva and David Luiz, with both defensive players netting goals. It was an incredibly tense, combative match that saw Neymar carted off in agony after suffering a fractured vertebrae from a knee in the back. Brazil will be missing him badly against Germany. Not only will Neymar not be in action but captain Thiago Silva will be missing as well after yellow card accumulation from a really silly foul. These are two huge stars that won't be playing and Brazil will miss not having them on the pitch. Kudos to Colombia for making it this far while playing fun, attractive football, and to James Rodriguez for putting on a show throughout, and letting a massive locus ride on his shoulder after scoring against Brazil. The Colombians were treated like gods upon their return home and they certainly deserved it. Meanwhile Germany had a comfortable win against a French side that didn't live up to the high standards that their attacking football set earlier in the tournament. Germany was too dominant in the midfield and had more experience and technical ability in the end, while France looked flat for the most part. An early header by Mats Hummel proved enough to overcome the French, as they never looked comfortable against the Germans. I'm not sure that Brazil has enough in reserve without their stars Neymar and Silva against a German team that looks confident and knows who they are. Home field advantage can only take you so far, I think Germany will win barring a remarkable performance from Brazil, something we haven't seen yet.
On the other side of the bracket Holland takes on Argentina, total football versus the Lionel Messi show. Argentina struck early against Belgium, as Gonzalo Higuain boomed a poachers volley off a deflected pass. Lionel Messi again controlled the game throughout, making pin point passes and runs through multiple defenders, and Belgium had no real answer. Argentina wasn't at their best but it was still more than enough to get through to their first semifinal since 1990. They will have their own injury concerns as Angel Di Maria is out, his creative energy and finishing will be missed. The Netherlands came through after a draining win against Costa Rica that required penalty kicks to determine the outcome. The Dutch battered and bruised the Ticos goal, repeatedly being rebuffed by star goalkeeper Keylor Navas and his crossbar. Costa Rica pulled off their offside trap to perfection throughout the game, frustrating Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben over and over again. Holland really deserved the win as they controlled the ball while Costa Rica was just holding on for dear life. The Ticos deserves all the acclaim as they may have played an ugly match, but they nearly made it through to the semis when no one gave them a chance of even getting out of their group, they did CONCACAF proud. The shocking play of the weekend was Dutch coach Louis Val Gaal saving his last substitution for the very final minute of extra time, bringing on backup goalkeeper Tim Krul for the penalties. The move proved to be a masterstroke as Krul guessed right every single penalty, and saved two, becoming the unlikely hero for the Netherlands The Dutch reach their third semi final in their last four World Cup appearances, and are looking to raise the trophy for the first time. They take on a united Argentine team that is starving for another World Cup championship and features the best player in the world, Lionel Messi. I look to Argentina to make it through to the finals, with Messi's quality carrying them again, but they will have their work cut out for them against Holland.