Saturday November 28th, 2015 2:41AM

Brazil, Germany set up semifinal at World Cup

By The Associated Press
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RIO DE JANEIRO -- What it lacks in beauty, Brazil's World Cup team is making up for with backbone.<br /> <br /> The home side is now just one step from a World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium. Standing in the way: a German team desperate for the trophy after narrow brushes with success since its last major tournament win in 1996<br /> <br /> Brushing off media criticism and questions about its mental strength, Brazil beat Colombia 2-1, sending home one of the tournament's most exciting teams and its electric young talent, James Rodriguez.<br /> <br /> While that was a scratchy, high-octane encounter in Fortaleza, Germany's 1-0 victory over France at the Maracana in the other quarterfinal Friday was cagey and methodical, with German efficiency trumping French over-elaboration and wastefulness.<br /> <br /> Three of the four goals Friday were scored by defenders, as France's forward line came up empty and, as so often in football, 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.<br /> <br /> Mats Hummels headed in Germany's winner in the 13th minute. Brazil's center-back pairing of Thiago Silva and David Luiz got the goals that meant they have still yet to lose when coach Felipe Scolari has started them together.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.
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