The four strongest teams took their separate ways to get to this point, but all have made it. You may argue that FIFA wanted a Brazil-Argentina final, but there’s a few hundred million watchers around the globe that would love to see an all-European final on South American soil.
Although five-time World Cup winners, Brazil, and three-time of the same, Germany, are meeting for only the second time in this competition– their first truly international meeting resulting in a German loss in 2002’s World Cup final, with a brace by Ronaldo. A loss for the German national team was one that German fans could cope with since few German fans ever expected them to get to that final.
Germany was in crisis after losing to Brazil, but kept plugging away after. In 2006, Jurgen Klinsmann — hero-coach of the German hosts — would quit the DFB after a disappointing loss to Italy, and a surprise 3rd placed finish. In his successive years, he was hired at Bayern; the team trying to catch his glory, but fell well short — and he’d be fired before he brought absolute mayhem upon Bayern’s season.
Klinsmann’s story, however, does not belong here.
This story now belongs to Germany and Brazil.
A tantalizing semi-final awaits when these two nations draw swords, but Brazil will be bereft of a national talisman in forward Neymar. And while his drive — holding a nation on his narrow, now broken, back — is much revered; the biggest loss for a Selecao will prove to be captain Thiago Silva. A second yellow against Colombia for Silva makes way for Dante to partner with David Luiz at center-back, and despite everything Dante knows about his Bayern Munich teammates — he’ll come up lacking.
As a Bayern supporter, I love Dante’s energy and what he’s all about. There’s Samba. An afro. A gorgeous smile… what’s not to like? But I see a German system going forward that rips the Brazilian defense apart with Silva out. Former Bayern midfielder Luis Gustavo will be back after serving a one-match suspension, but he may not be enough to hold the threatening tide of Müller, Goetze, Ozil and Schurrle.
This match will be won in holding midfield, and in center-defense, on both sides. To most, the quarter-finals of this tourney got a lot less exciting, but “Do you want us to play pretty, and lose again,” as Per Mertesacker questioned after the Germany-Algeria game? It’s not the prettiest team that wins, but merely the best team on the day.
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