World Cup Predictions 2014: Semi-Final Picks, Latest Odds and Key Players

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World Cup Predictions 2014: Semi-Final Picks, Latest Odds and Key Players
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Less than a week remains until it's determined who will become 2014 World Cup champions, with Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and Argentina the last four competing in this week's semi-finals.

Tuesday sees Luiz Felipe Scolari's hosts face Joachim Low's European powerhouse Germany in Belo Horizonte before all eyes turn to Sao Paulo on Wednesday, where the Dutch take on Alejandro Sabella's Argentina, long considered tournament favourites.

We provide all the latest odds and predictions for the penultimate phase of this year's competition, with bastions from each of the globe's two most successful football continents duking it out for the most coveted prize of all.

All World Cup odds are provided by Odds Shark.

 

Brazil vs. Germany

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Leading into this fixture, it's slightly unfortunate that matters are so focused upon the spinal injury that will keep Neymar from lining up against the Germans.

Sky Sports South American correspondent Paulo Freitas discusses the Brazilian FA's intention to appeal FIFA's decision not to punish Colombia's Juan Zuniga for his crippling tackle:

This has undoubtedly contributed to the Selecao's odds to win on Tuesday dropping to 3-2, and Die Mannschaft aren't far behind at 9-5.

Naymar's mazy influence from Brazil's left flank has been such a telling factor in his team's success at the World Cup, but Thiago Silva's influence at the back could be missed even more, with Dante nowhere near the same standard as a replacement.

Prediction: Brazil 1-3 Germany

 

Netherlands vs. Argentina

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Just as Neymar is the talk of the town for Brazil fans, Argentinians worldwide will be hoping that their own Barcelona star, Lionel Messi, can once again pull them out of the melee on Wednesday.

The 1-0 quarter-final win against Belgium was the first match of Argentina's World Cup in which Messi didn't have a direct hand in his team's game-winning goal, but WhoScored.com shows just what a consistent playmaking presence he's been:

It's a storyline we're all familiar with, and Messi's presence is more than part of the reason Argentina are currently 7-5 favourites to triumph on Wednesday, but the Dutch aren't exactly at long odds themselves, priced as 2-1 underdogs.

Again, the attacking trio of Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben will have all the Oranje attention fixated upon them, but Dutch football expert Michiel Jongsma confirms there may be a pressing concern in defence:

It's a game of fine margins, and the truth is that 21-10 odds of a draw may actually be the best value for money, with two sides boasting tremendous attacking potential more than capable of going into extra time.

It's here that Argentina's familiarity in the conditions could ultimately win out.

Prediction: Netherlands 1-2 Argentina AET

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