After triumphing over an effervescent Colombia team in a gripping quarter-final, Brazil should be awash with positivity and anticipation ahead of the last-four. Instead, the mood is overwhelmingly bittersweet.
That’s because if Brazil are going to secure an historic sixth World Cup, then they’re going to have to do so initially without their captain Thiago Silva, who will miss the semi-final due to suspension, and their talisman Neymar, who had his tournament curtailed due to a back injury. Suddenly, the final on Jul. 13 seems a long way off.
Especially when it’s Germany that stand between the Selecao and a coveted final spot. Die Mannschaft were exceptionally clinical in their quarter-final victory over France, and having made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup for the fourth consecutive time, they are well acquainted with how to properly negotiate the latter stages of a major international tournament.
To ensure you don’t miss a kick of what promises to be an encapsulating contest, here’s all the details on where to catch the game via a stream. In addition, here’s a run down of both sides and a look at which of these two semi-finalists are most likely to progress to the final of the competition.
Here are how the two teams look set to line-up for the semi-final clash:
It was a familiar narrative for Brazil as they scraped past Colombia in the quarter-final. They weren’t at their free-flowing best, they struggled for long periods and they lacked a cutting edge from open play; but somehow, they found a way to progress.
A goal from Silva and a stunning free-kick from David Luiz gave the Brazilians a 2-0 lead, but a James Rodriguez penalty meant that Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team had to fight off a late rally from Los Cafeteros.
Even without Neymar and Silva, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the hosts were able to find a way through once again. There is a spirit and desire that emanates from this team and while they have not been particularly fluent in their offensive play, they’re cohesive and very difficult to beat.
But without their leader and their talisman, do they have enough to overcome the Germans? Bundesliga expert Lucas Swain thinks Die Mannschaft should be thanking their lucky stars that those two will miss out:
Neymar out of the World Cup, Thiago Silva suspended. Germany can count their blessings.— Lucas Swain (@BundesligaLucas) July 4, 2014
Regardless of the personnel taking to the field for the semi-final, Scolari’s men must raise their game against a Germany team that is beginning to grow into this World Cup, and after plenty of experimentation in the early stages of the tournament, Joachim Low looks to have finally struck the right balance in their starting XI.
The German boss shifted Philipp Lahm to right-back against France, and with his intelligent forays forward, the team looked to have a lot more balance; you suspect the captain will occupy the same position against Brazil in the semis.
Without Brazil's star men, some teams could approach this clash with a tinge of complacency. But they mustn't underestimate the challenge that awaits them, as noted here by Bleacher Report’s Cristian Nyari:
Hulk, Oscar, Marcelo, Bernard and the ref could all still do damage. #GER have to prepare for their biggest challenge yet.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) July 4, 2014
Nonetheless, the Germans will rightly be considered favourites for this one. Without their two most important players, Brazil will have to raise their game to unprecedented levels if they’re to make it to the final, and the indications in this tournament that they can do that have been admittedly scarce.
Who will make it to the final?
Being tagged as the underdogs could help unify this Brazil team further, though. The players will have the backing of a fervent Brazilian crowd and they will never have a better chance of etching their names into the history of this illustrious footballing nation. They will be right up for this one, there is absolutely no disputing that.
But Germany are battle-hardened and streetwise when it comes these kinds of matches. Low will have a game-plan to frustrate the Brazilians by dominating the ball and dampening the atmosphere. With that in mind, if Germany score early on they will kill the flow of the game and preserve their lead. Unfortunately for the hosts, their run looks set to end here.
Prediction: Brazil 0-1 Germany