The Noise from Brazil: Neymar's unlucky break, James blames the ref and Costa Rica dare to dream
Neymar, aka the only reason to cheer on an increasingly cynical Brazil side, is gone and leaves us with the prospect of Fred, Hulk and Jo facing down German efficiency.
Mesut Ozil and Lionel Messi has led the tributes to the Barcelona attacker, with the former stating he's 'unhappy' that the nippy 22-year-old won't be selling dummies and stepovers to Messrs Hummels and Boateng next Tuesday in the semi-finals.
Neymar, i am unhappy. get well soon.
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) July 5, 2014
Messi wrote a message of support to his Barcelona team-mate on Facebook that's a bit too bland to post here, while Juan Camilo Zuniga found some time before being smuggled out of Brazil in a laundry basket to play the old 'not that sort of player' chestnut.
"I’ve never tried to harm another player. When I’m on the pitch I’m there to defend my country and my shirt — but there’s no intention to hurt anyone," he pleaded while having an extra set of eyes installed in the back of his head.
James Rodriguez blames the ref (and he's probably right) for Colombia exit
Leniency's Carlos Velasco Carballo came in for some sticky criticism from Colombian talisman and all-round dreamboat James Rodriguez, whose sixth goal in memorable tournament wasn't enough to stop Brazil from going through.
The match referee allowed Brazil to explore the darker arts time after time as Fernandinho repeatedly tried to divorce the Monaco youngster from his own knees without a card being issued.
“I think the referee influenced the game a lot, but that is how it is and we need to look forward. We are sad because we wanted to go further in the World Cup. That is what hurts most, but Brazil are a good team," said Rodriquez through gritted teeth and a heat pack.
This, at least, was lovely.
Can Costa Rica... they couldn't, could they???
The late game this evening sees Costa Rica and the Netherlands face off for the right to play either Argentina and Belgium in the semi-finals.
Not many people are giving the Central American side a snowflake's chance in hell but they weren't meant to see of Uruguay or Italy in the group stages either.
“We’ve had a great Cup, but we don’t want it to end here. We feel Holland is a great team, we respect them, like all the others, but we have to be clear and say that we really believe there is a chance of beating them,” said Bryan Ruiz, a player so underwhelming at Fulham that former striker Darren Bent frequently came out of semi-retirement to show him how to shank the ball over the bar from three yards.
Ruiz has, however, played a blinder in Brazil alongside Joel Campbell, with Arsenal fans hoping the youngster can go from strength to strength, bring his form back to England and make them forget that Yaya Sanogo ever happened.