David Luiz thundered home one of the World Cup's finest goals as Brazil progressed to the semi-finals, disposing of Colombia in an enthralling battle.
However, the 2-1 victory was tinged with concern after star man Neymar left the field on a stretcher in the closing stages.
The immense pressure of being host nation and favourites showed in their last-16 tie, with Luiz Felipe Scolari's side requiring penalties to see off Chile.
Another South American rival awaited at the quarter-final juncture, with Luiz's outstanding 35-yard free-kick decisive in a 2-1 victory after which one of the main talking points will be Neymar's fitness.
Neymar has been ruled out of the World Cup after Brazil's team doctor confirmed he suffered a broken vertebra late in Friday's quarterfinal victory against Colombia.
The star forward was involved in a late collision with Colombia's Juan Camilo Zuniga in the 88th minute, and will not be available when Brazil face Germany in the semifinal on Tuesday, or for the final on July 13, should Brazil advance.
Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said Neymar broke the third vertebra in the lumbar region of his back.
Germany secured a familiar World Cup semifinal berth with a minimum of fuss as French hopes of avenging past injustices shrivelled and died in the Maracana.
This is the fourth World Cup in a row that Germany have reached the last four of the tournament, and France had little answer to Mats Hummels' 13th-minute header.
Germany always looked comfortable with the slender lead and it was Joachim Low's side who came closest to scoring again before settling for a 1-0 result.