World Cup quarterfinal roundup, highlights: Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Netherlands advance

The end of the quarterfinal round brings everyone to a rather predictable scenario, with South American powerhouse programs Brazil and Argentina taking on European juggernauts Germany and the Netherlands.

The Dutch squeaked by CONCACAF minnows Costa Rica, Brazil beat back Colombia, Germany knocked out France while Argentina took a convincing win over Belgium to reach the final four. Those results set up a pair of delectable encounters in the semifinal, with a hobbled Brazil facing Germany and an inspired Argentina facing a mostly-meandering Netherlands side.

Brazil, of course, is the worst for wear of this bunch. Star striker Neymar has been ruled out of the tournament with a fracture to his third vertebrae. He joins Thiago Silva on the outside looking in for Tuesday’s Germany encounter. Other than their key losses, their victory over Colombia was perhaps the host nation’s most vibrant performance of the tournament.

Their semifinal opponent Germany made quick work of France in an impressive and complete quarterfinal victory. This time, it wasn’t their big strikers playing hero, but defender Mats Hummels heading home on goal in the 13th minute. While France did well to test the German flanks, they could not find their way to goal.

Argentina looked vibrant in attack against a stunned Belgian side. Gonzalo Higuain’s early strike in the 12th minute was all Argentina would need as their defense put on a clinic. Like Brazil, this was perhaps the best performance from the Albiceleste, who never looked like a side that lost control against a tenacious Belgian side.

While the other teams have done well to find their rhythm, the Netherlands post-Spanish hangover continues. Costa Rica held the Dutch scoreless through 120 minutes. The match was decided on penalties, where the Dutch were clinical in their execution. Both Mexico and Costa Rica troubled the Dutch using similar defensive-minded, counter-attack heavy tactics. Argentina will not, and that may produce an opportunity for the Dutch to finally find themselves.

Here are your round quarterfinal highlights:





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