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World Cup semifinals: Brazil vs. Germany: A Look Ahead

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Brazil will learn on Tuesday what life is like without Neymar.

Heading into their World Cup semifinals match against Germany (4 p.m. ESPN), Brazil will be missing not only their talismanic goal-scorer but also their top defender and captain, Thiago Silva, giving manager Luis Felipe Scolari plenty to think about in the run up to the match.

While Dante is expected to step in and start alongside David Luiz in defense, there’s plenty of question over who will replace Neymar, whether it’s Bernard, Willian, or possibly even Ramires. There’s also questions over who can shoulder the scoring load, considering Neymar has scored four goals in the tournament and the team relied on him heavily to score or create chances. Neither Fred nor Jo so far have lived up to the expectations as the lone forward up top.

Interestingly enough, Germany have been without one of their key playmakers, Marco Reus, since before the start of the World Cup. Both Mesut Özil and Toni Kroos have done outstanding jobs though during the tournament to make people forget about the Reus injury.

Joachim Löw has some questions of his own heading into the match, which is Germany’s fourth straight World Cup semifinals appearance.

Captain Philipp Lahm was played at his more natural right back position for the first time during this tournament in Germany’s 1-0 victory over France, allowing Jerome Boateng to slide in alongside Mats Hummels and have Bastian Schweinsteiger start alongside Sami Khedira in defensive midfield.

Löw could certainly keep his formation or he could revert to having Lahm back in defensive midfield, which would mean a move back to the bench for Schweinsteiger and a place back in the starting XI for Per Mertesacker.

Germany’s methodical play might play in Brazil’s hands though, as they’re set up for counter attacks, especially if the centerbacks can quickly get the balls out wide to the wingers.

Amazingly, Tuesday’s match is only the second time that Brazil and Germany have met in the World Cup. The last time was the World Cup final in 2002, when Brazil beat Germany, 2-0.


What do you think of today’s World Cup match-up? Who do you think has the advantage? Who do you expect to start in place of Neymar?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Dear God, please don’t let this despicable Brazilian team win the World Cup, just because they are hosting the tournament and Blatter has already promised them the trophey.

    I never thought I would live a day to cheer for Germany over Brazil but today is that day!

    Can you imagine Fred as a World Cup winner? I wouldn’t play the guy in my 6-a-side recreational team. He is that disturbingly awful (watch him score twice today).

    No European team has ever won the World Cup in South America and now FIFA has announced that Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez will be the referee? After defeating France and their colonial imports (FIFA allows from former French colonies around the world), Germany now faces Brazil, who could arguably field 3 world class soccer teams. It will be very difficult to beat Brazil at home (now with referee Rodriguez). See you at the Maple leaf-Almrausch German Club in OTTAWA, Canada for this semi-final match.

    • I know he’s Mexican and we’re supposed to hate him but not to the point of sounding ignorant. He’s a pretty solid ref who’s not scared to show card when needed and he’s going to need to with Brazil.

  3. the Germans seem to have reverted to the 50’s-00’s versions lately-I’d rather see Brazil go through and win sans Neymar-a “team” win versus a grea, yet overhyped player

  4. While I would prefer to see a non-European nation hoist the World Cup, I’m hoping that nation is Argentina and not Brazil. The Selecao’s method of reaching the semi’s would make the 2000 Baltimore Ravens envious.

      • That’s a rather unique question, (Charles) Manson. Although, no one on the Ravens “murdered” someone outside a club either. Unless you have facts not available to the general public to share?

    • I’m not a huge NFL fan but I recall the 2000 Ravens having one of the best defenses in the history of the NFL and winning due to that. I don’t recall any dirtiness or foul play. On the field at least. I don’t see the parallel between Ray Lewis and this Brazil team.

      • Correct.

        The Ravens defense was one of the most imposing defenses in NFL history. The comparison of an NFL defense and the accepted violence associated with tackles in football to the violent tackles not accepted (except for these appointed referees) within the sport of soccer.

  5. Kroos and Ozil are central players, not natural wide players. Additionally, Ozil has turned in some mediocre performances at best so far.

    The one thing Germany is missing is true width, which Reus provided. Although the author may have forgotten about him, I’m pretty sure no one else has.

    • I agree with all your points, but I want to add that in addition to his ability to play on the wing, Reus is devastating in as a false 9 or even 10. In the home game against Real Madrid, when he scored twice, he should have had a least 2-3 assists due to beautiful through balls that he played.

  6. Or worse, what if Argentina beat Brazil in the consolation game? That would really be a gut punch for the hosts.

  7. What would happen if Argentina wins the World Cup on Brazilian soil. The whole country might get burned to the ground.

    • It wouild be just three days before the 64th anniversary of the devastating loss to Uruguay in 1950, which Brazilians still discuss in anguished tones.

    • The Brazilian politicians and the police would never let that happen. They would go into argentina’s lockeroom at halftime and beat the players before letting them win the WC in their home. They’ve done it before during the copa libertadores.

  8. The bookies have Germany and Brazil dead even. And the odds of a tie aren’t that much higher. Looks like they have it likely to go to penalty kicks.

    • It makes sense. Although Germany is the better side at the moment, Brazil is playing on their home turf, so you still have to give them respect. If Neymar and Silva would have played, then you’d think that Brazil would have been slightly favored. But even with Neymar and Silva on the team, I think Germany is still the better squad on a neutral field.


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