Argentina's Javier Mascherano (L) celebrates near Belgium's Marouane Fellaini (8) after their 2014 World Cup quarter-finals at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia July 5, 2014. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
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After the attack-minded tactics and goal glut of the group stages, the World Cup quarterfinals were predictably marked by caution and even aggression as hosts Brazil pushed football's laws to the limit in dispatching Colombia.Only five goals were scored across the four games, one a penalty and one a direct free kick, and the average per match at the finals has crept down to 2.6, still the highest since 2.7 in France 1998 but far short of the record of 5.4 in Switzerland in 1954 . Bidding to become the first Central American team to reach the last four at a World Cup, they chose caution rather than playing the enterprising football that had garnered surprise wins against Italy and Uruguay and a draw with another former winner England that secured top spot in Group D.In the end, they were undone by a ruthlessly efficient set of Dutch penalties, Netherlands goalkeeper Tim Krul coming off the bench at the end of extra time to save two Costa Rican spot kicks.
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