Brazil have reached the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 2002 when they have won the title against Germany in the final. The favorite became the underdog after Neymar got injured and now Brazil will have to do it the hard way. A big team is on the opposite side for the first time in this tournament for Brazil, and the Germans haven't been spectacular but they kept winning and winning. Germany don't have any injury or suspension issues but they are exhausted by their own admission. Will Brazil finally meet their match or will they deliver an inspired performance and play in the final?
Apart from Neymar's injury, the suspension of captain Thiago Silva is another problem and Dante will join David Luiz in central defence. It's still not clear will Luis Felipe Scolari opt for a formation with one extra midfielder or will he replace Neymar with offensive-minded Willian or Bernard. The Brazilians are in a trance, wanting to win this one for Neymar and for their country. They have been motivated since the start of the tournament but this time the inspiration really kicks in.
Germany have played a good tournament although Joachim Low is being heavily criticized for his tactical decisions. Even when Germans would progress through the knockout round, the media would ask the victors do they think they performed badly. The mood in this team isn't the best, the Germans are under a lot of negative pressure. While Brazil have learned to thrive under immense pressure and the incredible burden of expectations, Germany can do no such thing. They're about to play against Brazil and their own country doesn't believe in them.
Joachim Low experimented with his lineup quite a bit in this tournament, most notably fielding Philipp Lahm as the sole defensive midfielder, but against France he reverted to the standard 4-2-3-1 formation with Lahm as a right back. He will likely do the same here. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira have played a very good tournament but Low says they're exhausted and that he doesn't know can they play anymore. They will likely be in the lineup but it wouldn't be surprising to see them look unrecognizable on the pitch.
Germany have a poor head to head record against Brazil, they have only won the 2011 friendly which was played in Stuttgart. Other than that, no matter how good the German generation was and how average the Brazilian generation was, Brazil would have the edge in the meeting. And all matches have been very entertaining.
This match is played in Belo Horizonte, where the weather is pleasant, and Marco Rodriguez from Mexico will be the referee. He is generous with yellow and red cards, and is not among the top referees in the world but is instead covering up for his inadequacies by issuing cards. We can expect him to do the same in this match. Joachim Low warned him against giving Brazil a licence to kick and shove like Carballo did against Colombia.
The match starts at 17.00 local time, 21.00 UK time.
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