Brazil vs. Germany: Which Powerhouse Has Most to Lose in World Cup Semifinal?

Hugo Chavez Barroso@@HugoCarlosChBFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2014

YOKOHAMA - JUNE 30:  Edmilson of Brazil takes on Miroslav Klose of Germany during the Germany v Brazil, World Cup Final match played at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan on June 30, 2002. Brazil won 2-0. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

The two most successful teams in World Cup history will be facing each other for only the second time ever in the tournament.

Brazil against Germany in Tuesday's semifinal clash promises to be an epic battle in Belo Horizonte. 

Football history in its prime tournament simply can't be understood without Brazil and Germany.

The South American and European giants have each played seven World finals, and combined, they have won eight Championships.

Brazil are the only team to play in every single edition of the World Cup, while Germany have only missed two tournaments.

Ronaldo and Miroslav Klose are the two top goalscorers of all time in the World Cup, with 15 goals each. And the list of great players from both countries who had left their mark in the tournament is endless.

There is no possible match in the world that has more in stake than this one. Therefore, each side also has a lot to lose; but who has more to lose?

Brazil are the World Cup record winners with five championships. They certainly are always expected to be a contender to win the Cup. However, in current circumstances—with their biggest star injured and their captain suspended—is it still obligatory to win it?

LUCA BRUNO/Associated Press

If the tournament was being hosted in any other country, the answer could understandably tend to be no.

The problem here is that the host country is Brazil. The one wound that Brazilian football hasn't been able to close is precisely not being able to win a World Cup at home.

In the 1950 Cup, Brazil had everything ready to celebrate their first world championship; the table was set with 200,000 Brazilian fans packing the cathedral they have built and called Maracana.

But Brazil lost dramatically to Uruguay, and even though they have gone on to win the World Cup five times since, the "Maracanazo" tragedy is still alive.

Now, 64 years later, Brazil are the hosts of another World Cup; in great measure they are doing so to close the 1950 episode by finally winning at home. If they don't win it this year, another 60 years can easily go by without the nation being able to host the tournament again.

In a country such as Brazil, where people breathe football and sometimes the beautiful sport is the only thing from which they can find joy in their lives, the pressure becomes massive for the Selecao.

The players, who mostly come from humble backgrounds, know about it—it is no surprise we have seen the Brazilian players so emotional and even crying. No other host country has had the pressure that this Brazil has to win it all.

The most recent golden age of Brazil is still relatively fresh in the minds of the fans, when they reached three World Cup finals in a row: USA '94, France '98 and Korea-Japan '02.

But not even that is an excuse for the Selecao not to win. If they fail, they will be sharing the non-honorable place that Mexico owns as the only nation to have hosted two World Cups and not been able to win either.

Dramatic changes and repercussions happened after Brazil lost the 1950 World Cup. Brazil stopped using the white jerseys, and Barbosa, the goalie who was blamed for the loss, ended up negatively marked for life.

Luiz Felipe Scolari and his squad could certainly end having a similar fate as Barbosa's if they can't live up to the expectations created around them.

On the other side, Germany have one of the most recognized winning traditions. No one put it better than England striker Gary Lineker who famously said:

Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.

CARLO FUMAGALLI/Associated Press

However, that praised winning tradition is starting to fade away.

The last time Germany won the World Cup was at Italia '90, 24 years ago.

Since the World Cup started in 1930, Germany has never gone more than 24 years without winning it. The last time the Mannschaft won a major tournament was Euro '96.

The first major tournament won by Germany was the 1954 World Cup and its longest time afterwards without winning anything lasted until the Euro '72 victory; in other words, it took 18 years to celebrate again.

We are in the year 2014. If Germany don't win the World Cup, we will be living in the darkest era in German football, more than 24 years without a World Cup triumph and more than 18 without conquering a major tournament.

You might argue that Germany have played some of the best football in the last six or eight years and that they have achieved a record four World Cup semifinals in a row.

But this is Germany; they don't enter a tournament to compete, they do so to win. Even the current squad players have been quoted saying that they aren't in Brazil to play beautiful football but to win.

Joachim Low and the current generation of German players, featuring players who have come from a long process since 2006, have been astonishing on the pitch. But they have no silverware to show for it.

For Klose, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski, this might be their last chance to win something for Deutschland. And who knows if Thomas Mueller, Mesut Ozil and Co. will have another chance in the near future, as great teams who combine experienced players and youngsters are hard to find.

Germany lost the 2002 final against Brazil in the only World Cup match the two sides have ever played.

Just as Brazil are looking to close the 1950 wound, Germany want to close the 2002 one. The gap between Brazil and Germany is still small, but a second Brazilian win over the Germans and a potential Selecao sixth championship might leave the world with only one giant standing.

YOKOHAMA - JUNE 30:  Rivaldo of Brazil is challenged by Bernd Schneider and Carsten Ramelow of Germany during the Germany v Brazil, World Cup Final match played at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan on June 30, 2002. Brazil won 2-0. (Ph
Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

The legacies of Brazil and Germany are unmatchable, but such winning traditions need to be renewed; the hunger and need to conquer trophies must stay insatiable for these giants.

If winning starts being an exception for them, then someone else will take their place, and they can start thinking about joining the history books of respected teams that lost their mystic somewhere along the way.

The weight of history and greatness is among them, the curse that the powerhouses must bear; that is what makes them the football giants.

Personally, I think both have as much in stake football wise, but the social consequences that may arise from a Brazilian defeat make Brazil the side with the most to lose.


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