Brazil need to overcome the odds in their semi-final against tournament favourites Germany if they are reach the final in their home tournament.
No host has reached the final since France in 1998, whilst South Korea (2002) and Germany (2006) have been eliminated in the semi-finals in two of the three previous tournaments.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side would have been underdogs even without the suspension of Thiago Silva and injury to Neymar – stacking the odds against the Brazilian coach even further.
Germany looked comfortable in their 1-0 win over France in the quarter-final. They had opportunities to double their lead on the counter-attack and you’d expect they will have worked hard on training this week to improve that when they face a Brazil defence vulnerable on the break.
France created very few opportunities against a German team that now looks to be the finished article – arguably the best goalkeeper in the tournament, a solid defence, a midfield that maintains possession and creates chances, and with either Miroslav Klose or Thomas Müller up front – two of the finest goalscorers in the history of this competition.
Juan Zúñiga’s knee to the back of Neymar has ruled the star out of Brazil’s final two games with a back injury, with Willian expected to deputise. Thiago Silva is suspended after barging over Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina as he went to clear the ball – the Paris Saint-Germain centre-back’s second yellow card of the tournament. Luiz Gustavo is back from his suspension which is good news to Scolari.
Joachim Löw has no reported injury concerns and his side had only picked up four yellow cards in five games so there were no suspensions before the cards were wiped heading into the semi-final.
Luiz Gustavo should come back in for Fernandinho. Luiz Felipe Scolari seems to prefer Paulinho over the Manchester City midfielder. In defence, Henrique made a cameo appearance against Colombia – he’s a possible replacement for Thiago Silva but I am going for Bayern Munich’s Dante instead. Chelsea man Willian is expected to replace the injured Neymar.
Joachim Löw already has a winning formula, why change it? He could bring in either Lukas Podolski or Mario Götze on the left I guess and Per Mertesacker may also be looking for a recall. Otherwise, this looks like the 2014 World Cup winning eleven to me, even if it is only the semi-final right now.
Thomas Müller vs Marcelo
Joachim Löw has the choice of starting Thomas Müller against Marcelo or David Luiz. You’d expect the clever German to get himself free and in goalscoring positions against either. Look out for the Bayern Munich forward to be open and leading counter attacks whether he plays on the right wing or up front, against this attack-minded Brazilian defence.
Bastian Schweinsteiger vs Paulinho
Bastian Schweinsteiger dictated much of the play against France in the last round and expect the Bayern Munich midfielder to do the same against Brazil, along with his team mates in the middle of the park – Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos. Tottenham midfielder Paulinho needs to close Schweinsteiger down so that he doesn’t have time to pick out the playmakers in his team. Expect Luiz Gustavo to be too deep as he helps protect his defence. Oscar should also be around to put pressure on Germany when in possession.
Hulk vs Philipp Lahm
If Hulk does indeed get switched to the left wing to feel the void left by Neymar, this may be Brazil’s best form of attack. France failed to take advantage of the space left in behind Philipp Lahm time and time again. The Zenit St Petersburg forward has had a quiet World Cup but if he wants to leave a name on this tournament here’s a match he needs to step up if his country are to remain in the competition.
Soccerlens Barrie’s Prediction: Brazil 0-2 Germany
Brazil at a loss with Neymar and Thiago Silva absent. Germany have looked comfortable at the back in reaching the semi-final and have some of the best players in the competition going forward. I reckon the Brazilian dream will end on Tuesday night.
Key World Cup links:
Brazil World Cup 2014 Team Page.
Germany World Cup 2014 Team Page.
World Cup 2014 Matches – Fixtures & Results
World Cup 2014 Player & Team Stats
World Cup 2014 Group Tables
Watch live World Cup matches online.
Our main World Cup 2014 news page.
The Official Soccerlens World Cup Predictor Game.