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Brazil

Duarte: Five good things about 2014

Brazil
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A Brazilian victory in the image of Scolari

Germany were less Bayern and more Germany. With Philipp Lahm at full-back, and a more pragmatic striker who could hold the ball up, they didn't give France any opportunity to counterattack, which was how Karim Benzema's Real Madrid annihilated a Bayern Munich side just as star-studded as the German national team.

They achieved the win with only 51 percent possession, the lowest figure for the Germans at this World Cup, with many of the errors coming in the second half when they squandered some great chances to make it 2-0 and seal the win, avoiding any scares like the one that came in the final minute. That was when Manuel Neuer saved a dangerous shot from the French No. 10.

Brazil produced their best performance of the World Cup to ensure their qualification for the semifinal, where they'll face Germany. It was nothing special or spectacular, but it wasn't the time for that. We tend to forget, at least in this World Cup, that the Brazilian team have fought to progress as far as possible, by any means necessary.

The Colombians didn't play to their potential, or as expected. The yellow shirt still intimidates them, which was evident from the start of the match.

But it was a deserved victory for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side, with Fernandinho outstanding in the first half, when he man-marked James Rodriguez and showed how such an important game should be played.

Both teams qualified thanks to goals from centre-backs, Mats Hummels, Thiago Silva -- "The Monster," and David Luiz.

Germany were more pragmatic, but Scolari's Brazil side clearly are too. The Germans would generally tend to face the Brazilians in a similar manner. It would be more interesting for the hosts if they maintain the interminable passing approach that would favor a return to the successful strategy employed by Brazil in the Confederations Cup final against Spain.

Head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, center, has Brazil two steps away from a sixth World Cup title.
Head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, center, has Brazil two steps away from a sixth World Cup title.

The Brazilians are once again among the four best teams at a World Cup. The Germans as well. Brazil's victory was one in the image of their coach, with 54 (!) fouls given by the weak Spanish referee, 31 (!!!) of these by Brazil.

No matter how many new songs you hear, there is no better sound in the bleachers than the immortal melody, "With a lot of pride, and a lot of love ..."