The dream semifinals matchup is set with Germany and Brazil, but can the hosts win without two key players?
Neymar is the star striker for Brazil and leads them with four goals, but he suffered a back injury late in the quarterfinals match against Colombia and is out.
Also, Thiago Silva will not be on the pitch because of a suspension.
Most sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com had World Cup semifinal odds with Brazil priced at 9-5 and Germany as slight three-way-betting underdogs at 7-4. The draw line (tie score after 90 minutes) was at a shade longer than 2-1.
With Neymar out, the pressure increases for Hulk, who has been excellent, and Fred, who has been largely invisible. The offensive-minded midfielder Oscar has yet to impose himself on the tournament.
While Neymar will not play, Brazil will still push the envelope on offense to keep the home crowd engaged, but they will need to tighten the defense as well.
Germany have been terrific in the midfield in the last few matches, conceding just a single goal.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira are the two key players for the German midfield that has been great at dropping back on defense as well as controlling the middle of the pitch.
These two need to play well, especially finding scoring chances for an offense that has been out-of-sync lately.
Thomas Mueller is goalless in the last two matches, and he has to pace the German offense. He also needs to make up ground for Golden Boot bettors, as he is two behind James Rodriguez as the third betting choice at 5-1 odds.
However, Brazil cannot key on one player since the Germans have so many scoring options.
While Neymar and Silva are out, Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo will play after sitting out the last match due to a suspension.
These squads have met 21 times with Brazil having won 12, drawn five and lost four. In their only World Cup meeting, Brazil beat Germany in the 2002 final.
The midfield play of Brazil is vital in this match.
Brazil are shorthanded and under pressure in front of an adoring nation of soccer fans. The danger for Brazil is playing to the crowd when they should be playing cautiously against an excellent German side.
When they get down a goal early, the momentum will swing to the Germans who will advance to the final.
Germany vs. Brazil prediction: 2-1 Germany