Hosts Brazil will play Germany for a place in the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but will have to do so without star man Neymar and influential captain Thiago Silva.
Neymar has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament after breaking a vertebra in his spine in a challenge by Colombia’s Juan Zuniga. Silva is suspended after picking up a yellow card in the quarter-final clash with their fellow South Americans.
Meanwhile, Germany go into the game with a fully fit squad after their 1-0 win over France. The three-time winners are into their fourth consecutive semi-final after Mats Hummels’ header gave them the victory against the French.
And they enter the game with a great chance of progressing thanks to the absence of Brazil’s two key men Neymar and Silva. Brazil are still favorites to win the tournament on home soil, with suggestions that they have had some decisions go in their favor thanks to home advantage. But Germany body an impressive squad with the likes of Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze and Miroslav Klose in the side.
If Klose scores against Brazil, he will surpass Brazilian legend Ronaldo in the all-time scoring charts at World Cup finals. And it would add to his delight should he do it against Ronaldo’s countrymen and knock them out in the process.
David Luiz will captain Brazil in the absence of Silva following his brilliant free kick against Colombia in the last round. That goal proved to be the winner as James Rodriguez pulled a goal back from the penalty spot for Colombia.
And Brazil will be hoping to progress against Joachim Low’s Germany after Low said that Brazil have “lost their flair.” The five-time winners have been widely criticized for their aggressive approach in this tournament - they committed 31 fouls against Colombia - and it has been suggested that referees have been too lenient on them due to pressure from the crowd.
Dante and Willian of Bayern Munich and Chelsea respectively are set to come in for Silva and Neymar, and the Brazilians will be aiming to win against a Germany team that is - in some corners - seen as the stronger side.
Germany often play with a high line, and if they set up in the same manner, then Brazil may be hopeful of catching their opponents on the break with some quick attackers in the side such as Hulk and Oscar.
But if Germany can be as organized as they were against France, they will fancy their chances against a Brazil side that have shown some typically comical defending at times this summer.
Should Germany win, Brazil will be in a state of devastation at the sight of their side not winning, and they will blame it on the absence of poster boy Neymar. But the truth is that Germany are arguably the strongest side left in the tournament.
And this is only the second meeting in World Cup history between the two teams, with Brazil beating Germany in the 2002 final. Germany will be looking to avenge that defeat and knock Brazil out of the party that they are hosting earlier than planned.