Brazil will be hoping that the loss of their two most influential players will not hold them back in their World Cup semi-final against Germany. Star player Neymar will miss the rest of the tournament after suffering a serious back injury, while captain Thiago Silva is suspended.
This is Brazil’s first semi-final since they went on to win the whole tournament in 2002 after beating Germany in the final. They will be hoping history repeats itself tonight. The Germans haven’t impressed so far but they have made it through unscathed. Like Brazil, Germany has a lot of expectation back home.
Brazil played their match of the competition against Colombia in the quarterfinal. But they won’t carry the same goal threat without Neymar. Just as the hosts were beginning to turn the style on as we got to the latter stages of this tournament, they were dealt their worst nightmare. Chelsea’s Willian will deputise for Neymar but he lacks the invention and personality of the Barcelona forward. Bayern’s Dante will replace Silva, while David Luiz will take the captain’s armband. Dani Alves could be recalled at right-back ahead of Maicon.
The Germans have recovered from a virus that spread through their team. Per Mertesacker could be recalled in defense, although the team that won against France looked their most balanced of the tournament. However, coach Joachim Low prefers Phillip Lahm in central midfield. The change could see Jerome Boateng go to right-back and Mertesacker move into the centre of defense. Central midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger or Sami Khedira could drop out.
Brazil starting XI (predicted):
Germany starting XI (predicted):