(CNN) -

There were goals, there was choreographed dancing, there were moments of great footballing beauty, but Colombia -- one of the teams to excite most at this thrilling World Cup finals -- is going home after Friday's quarterfinal defeat at the hands of Brazil in Fortaleza.

Strikes from the center-back pairing of captain Thiago Silva and David Luiz put Brazil into an unassailable lead and, despite a late penalty by James Rodriguez, the tournament host held on to win 2-1.

There was concern, however, for Brazil's star striker Neymar, who was stretchered off in what seemed like considerable pain in the game's closing moments.

The result marks the first time Brazil has reached the semifinal stage since winning the title in Japan and South Korea in 2002, and sets up an intriguing clash against Germany on Tuesday -- a repeat of that year's final.

"I think Neymar won't be able to play," coach Luiz Felipe Scolari told reporters after the game. "If we are able to beat Germany it might be he can play in the final.

"He has been sent to a private clinic for a serious of exams as he was kneed on his lower back and was crying out with pain. I can guarantee it won't be easy

for him to recover based on what the doctor told us and the pain he is in."

Germany overcame France in the day's earlier quarterfinal in Rio de Janeiro thanks to an early goal from defender Mats Hummels.

In the sweaty evening heat of the Estadio Castelao, however, it was another pair of defenders who were the unlikely heroes.

Silva opened the scoring after seven minutes, tucking home a Neymar corner with his knee, and the Paris Saint-Germain star was then in thick of it once more at the other end moments later, blocking a shot from Juan Cuadrado.

Silva was criticized heavily after apparently refusing to take the sixth penalty in Brazil's round of 16 shootout victory over Chile last Saturday.

He was all action here, however. Marshaling the back line and flying into tackles when required.

But a yellow card midway through the second half means he will be suspended and miss the semifinal.

The Colombia players composed themselves as the first half progressed, coming more into the game despite the rough-house treatment handed out to star player James Rodriguez.

On at least four occasions the Monaco star was subject to the stray boot of Brazil's midfield enforcer Fernandinho.

Still, the home team continued to have the better chances.

Hulk and Fred came close with a snap-shot that Colombia keeper David Ospina palmed away and a header that flashed over respectively.

The second half commenced at a far slower pace and there was little of note until Silva was booked for blocking a kick out from Ospina.

Colombia did have the ball in the net after 66 minutes as Mario Yepes bundled the ball over the line after a scramble in the Brazilian box. But a linesman's offside flag cut short the nascent celebrations.

Moments later there was a goal, although it was to come at the other end.

Hulk was fouled by Rodriguez 35 yards from goal and Luiz stepped up to crash a spectacular free-kick beyond the despairing Ospina.

It was a remarkable strike that dipped and swerved as it arrowed into the top corner of the net.

There seemed no way back for Colombia now. But "Los Cafeteros" were handed a lifeline with 12 minutes to go after goalkeeper Julio Cesar scythed down substitute Carlos Bacca.

Rodriguez did the honors from the penalty spot, sending Cesar the wrong way to score his sixth goal of the tournament -- two more than closest rivals Neymar, Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller.

All of a sudden, the game was back on. Colombia pressed and threw caution to the wind with Yepes playing as an auxiliary striker.

But when one final corner kick delivery drifted beyond Cesar's goal in the 95th minute there was time left for little else.

Scolari's side has now overcome the barrier that has proved too high at the last two World Cup tournaments.

However, Brazil has not yet looked like a team certain to become world champion for a record-extending sixth time -- as its demanding public expects -- despite having world-class talents like Neymar, Silva and Oscar.

Yet somehow they find themselves only a game away from next Sunday's final.

Stuttering performances and the occasional stroke of good fortune against Croatia and Mexico in the group stages and once more against Chile has hardly inspired confidence in "A Selecao."