Picking a Combined Brazil-Germany World Cup 2014 XI

Christopher AtkinsContributor IJuly 7, 2014

Picking a Combined Brazil-Germany World Cup 2014 XI

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    Buda Mendes/Getty Images

    Brazil take on Germany in the World Cup 2014 semifinal on Tuesday in a match that sees two of football's true superpowers come crashing head-to-head.

    With a place in the Maracana next Sunday at stake, it is fair to say that it is potentially the biggest game in the careers of many of those involved. But, who are the best players on show?

    Here at Bleacher Report we have attempted to pick a combined Brazil and Germany XI based entirely on performances at the tournament thus far.

    Who makes the cut?

Manuel Neuer

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    In a tournament of outstanding goalkeeping displays, Germany's Manuel Neuer has been as good as, if not better than, all of his rivals.

    Playing a sweeping role that has bordered on insanity at times, he has repelled nearly everything that has come his way with consummate ease.

    Julio Cesar has done little wrong and, indeed, made crucial saves to help Brazil past Chile in the round of 16. Neuer, though, is untouchable.

Philipp Lahm

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    The right-back berth in our side goes to Germany's Philipp Lahm, almost by default.

    Germany have had concerns in the position and have been forced to use Lahm back in his better-known role in order to make up for those issues, while Brazil's first-choice, Dani Alves, has been dropped for Maicon.

    Lahm has not had a great tournament by his sky-high standards, but he has been as dependable as ever, and that is enough to earn him a place in this side.

David Luiz

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    The better of Brazil's much-vaunted centre-back pairing, David Luiz had a slow start to the tournament but has come to the fore in the knockout stages.

    He has scored twice, which, while impressive, is the least of his contribution. As the pressure has grown, he has consistently stepped up into a leadership role for his side.

    He has been much criticised and even ridiculed at times over recent years, but even his critics have appreciated his enormous potential.

    One of those who thrives on the intensity of the atmosphere at present, he will be essential in his captain's absence against Germany.

Mats Hummels

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    Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press

    Of all Germany's defenders at the tournament, there can be no doubting that Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels has stood head and shoulders above the rest in terms of performance levels.

    Having missed their last-16 clash through illness, Hummels returned to the side to put in a masterful display against France and ensure his country once more reached the semifinal stage.

    Thiago Silva and Jerome Boateng have been decent without truly excelling, so Hummels is comfortably deserving of a place in the XI.

Marcelo

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    Fabrizio Bensch/Associated Press

    The left-back berth in our side is another that is decided virtually by default, with Marcelo beating Germany's Benedikt Hoewedes to the role courtesy of the latter's poor displays.

    Marcelo himself has been well below his marauding best. This is a player who changed the course of this year's Champions League final, but who has often been on the fringes of games this summer.

    He has not been found wanting in his defensive duties, though, and that is enough for him to oust Hoewedes.

Luiz Gustavo

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Perhaps the outstanding defensive midfielder of the tournament so far, Luiz Gustavo's standing within the Brazil side and among their fans has dramatically increased.

    It is difficult to overstate how important he has been at times, with fellow central midfielder Paulinho struggling and gaps appearing behind both full-backs.

    Throughout, though, he has been neat and efficient in all his work at the heart of the Brazil side.

    His partnership with Fernandinho, newly installed in a starting role, will be key to the Selecao's title hopes.

Toni Kroos

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    The man linking Germany's side together, Toni Kroos has brought his form of the season just past with Bayern Munich into the World Cup, and Germany have benefited tremendously.

    What makes Kroos so important is that, whatever the situation, he is normally able to hold onto the ball, pick the right pass and stretch opposition defences from side to side.

    For those who love statistical analysis, he is always a standout and has once again not disappointed with a pass completion of over 90 percent and 2.2 key passes per game, according to Whoscored.

    Every team would benefit from his presence.

Mesut Ozil

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Mesut Ozil's laid-back style of play often incites fierce criticism when things aren't quite going his way, and there have been many speaking out about his performances at the World Cup thus far.

    However, despite wasting a couple of opportunities he would generally expect to convert, he has done little wrong at the competition and has certainly been more effective than colleague Mario Goetze, or Brazil's Hulk.

    He has created chances for his side that have not been converted and remained a threat throughout in games, even if he appears not to be busting a gut. The criticism has been excessive.

Oscar

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    Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Oscar's World Cup may have been somewhat subdued since the opening game, but in that one match against Croatia he also hit heights that few others can claim to have matched.

    What also must be said is that his subsequent performances have been far from terrible. He has been unsensational, but in part due to the task he is being asked to perform by his coach.

    The pressure is now on for Oscar, with the injury suffered by teammate Neymar propelling him into a central role in the side's attack.

    He simply has to perform if Brazil are to emerge victorious, but he has shown on a number of occasions that he too can thrive upon pressure to succeed.

Neymar

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    Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

    His tournament may be over, but Neymar made a deep impression on World Cup 2014 and ends the tournament with four goals to his name.

    Brazil must continue on without their golden boy, but that doesn't mean he cannot make our combined XI and is well deserving of an attacking berth.

    Neymar's World Cup dream is not over, and he will have further chances in the future to play in the competition's latter stages. He has shown he is ready.

Thomas Mueller

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    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    One of football's finest exponents of penalty-box movement, Thomas Mueller is once more among the top scorers of this World Cup, as he looks to earn a second successive Golden Boot crown.

    While there has been much deliberation over the makeup of Germany's attacking unit, the presence of Mueller has never been in doubt. He is the side's leading goal threat and seemingly never fails to step up on the big occasion.

    As regards this selection, it is fair to say that competition from Brazilian No. 9 Fred has been minimal up to this point.