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."

Poor showings from the likes of strikers Hulk and Fred have been singled out for particular scorn, although the former put in a solid performance against Colombia.

Much was also made in the Brazilian media of 2002's winning coach Scolari -- a man who prides himself on being a father figure to his players -- bringing in a psychologist to speak to his team after many broke down in tears during the national anthems and once again after the dramatic penalty kicks victory over Chile.

Was this team soft and mentally weak? Are the expectations of 200 million football-mad Brazilians proving oppressive and too much to bear?

"Big Phil" truculently replied earlier this week that journalists who didn't like his methods could "go to hell."

Whether said reporters took heed or not, surely lack of maturity is not an accusation that can be leveled against Brazil now.

The men in yellow were nothing if not committed, controlled and tactically astute, biting into tackles and closing down with an intensity that ruffled their opponents.

Several gestured towards the crowd throughout the contest to increase the noise and crank up the pressure.

Colombia, by comparison, can hardly have been accused of being afraid.

Jose Pekerman's team has played with a style and confidence throughout the tournament that has been a joy to watch for neutral observers.

The delight the entire squad takes in their choreographed dancing celebrations, meanwhile, speaks to the relaxed vibe created by the coach, previously a World Cup quarterfinalist with his native Argentina in 2006.

Tellingly, however, Colombia has only ever beaten Brazil twice and never in Brazil -- a run that extends all the way back to 1945 and the formative years of the Copa America.

That record will now last at least until the two sides meet next in qualification for the next World Cup in the coming years.

Still, today's Colombia players will be heading back homes as heroes, the bright hope of a new generation as the country itself moves on from a dark past.

It was 20 years ago this week that defender Andres Escobar was murdered in Medellin upon returning from the 1994 World Cup in the U.S. where he scored a cruel own-goal.

Thankfully, those dark days are largely gone and Colombian hopes will be high when the campaign for Russia 2018 begins.

Brazil, however, is still involved in 2014 and will be going to the semifinals in Belo Horizonte.