Tuesday 8th July 2014 17:00 LOC / 21:00 BST / Weds 9th July 06:00 AEST
Estadio Mineirao Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Neymar – LW/RW/AM – Injury, Thiago Silva – CB – Suspension
Brazil were dealt a cruel blow in the closing minutes of their nervy quarter-final victory over Colombia as Neymar suffered a knee in the back from Jose Zuniga. It was later revealed that he has fractured a vertebra in his spine and will not be fit for the rest of the World Cup. He has practically carried Brazil and the hopes of a nation on his shoulders and his absence will hit Brazil very hard.
Willian is the most likely replacement and should take up a central role. This may free Oscar up to concentrate less on his defensive duties and be able to push further forward and influence the game. Bernard also provides an option; this would mean Oscar playing centrally with Hulk and Bernard either side.
Almost as much of a blow, although much less focused on, is the absence through suspension of Thiago Silva. He picked up a needless second booking against Colombia and will be missing from the back line. Henrique looks favourite to replace him but Dante could be another option for Scolari.
Dani Alves should return after being dropped against Colombia, Maicon giving Brazil more defensive solidity but they are likely to need Alves attacking qualities now.
Luiz Gustavo will also come back into the starting eleven after serving a one-match ban; Paulinho is likely to drop back to the bench.
Luiz Gustavo – CM – Suspension
Expected Team (4-2-3-1)
Bench (from): Jefferson GK, Victor GK, Maicon RB, Dante CB, Maxwell LB, Hernanes CM, Paulinho CM, Ramires CM/RW, Bernard LW/RW, Jo ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Motivational Keys to the Game:
The whole of Brazil is in mourning for the loss of Neymar. His absence will hit them hard and cause even more nervousness to a team that was already showing signs of creaking under the pressure of hosting the World Cup. Motivation is unquestionable, but the impact it may have on their belief is another matter.
Mustafi – CB/RB – Injured
Germany came through their quarter-final with France with no new injury worries and avoiding any suspensions as they head into a tough semi-final with hosts Brazil.
Joachim Low made three changes for the game with France in order to combat their counter attacking ability. Per Mertesacker was one player sacrificed to allow for Lahm to revert to right-back so France could not take advantage of Mertesacker’s lack of pace. With Neymar injured it is very likely Germany could restore Mertesacker to the starting line-up, moving Boateng to RB and Lahm back into midfield, where Low prefers to use him.
This means wither Schweinsteiger or Khedira will drop out with the Real Madrid man seeming the more likely to lose his place.
Klose also started against France, Gotze should come back in on the left against Brazil an option that would force Dani Alves to be more cautious with his forward runs. This would then see Ozil move back to the right and Muller into a central striking role.
The Flu epidemic that swept through the camp last week seems to have had no major effect on Low’s starting team and all those slightly affected should have fully recovered by Tuesday.
Bench (from): Weidenfeller GK, Zieler GK, Großkreutz RB/LB/AM, Durm LB, Ginter DM/CB, Khedira DM/CM, Kramer DM/CM, Schurrle AM/ST, Draxler LW/RW/AM, Podolski LW/ST, Klose ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Motivational Keys to the Game:
Will be boosted by the news that Neymar and Thiago Silva will both miss the game. They have done just what they needed to do to get through each of their games so far, without majorly impressing and Löw will be happy that much of the focus and pressure will be on Brazil in advance of the game.
Football Form Labs Betting Preview: Brazil (3) v Germany (2)
There is nothing to separate Brazil and Germany in the betting markets as both are equally fancied to reach the World Cup Final. It’s likely that Brazil would have been as short as 1.60 to progress had their two most important players – captain and leader Thiago Silva and superstar striker Neymar – not been ruled out of this crucial clash. Both will be sorely missed. Germany, meanwhile, have pretty much a full squad to choose from with only defender Mustafi unavailable from their original 23.
Brazil’s 2-1 win over Colombia in the quarter-finals was the third consecutive game and their 13th in 14th against top-10 ranked sides that they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet. This is an extremely rare game for the hosts in that they go into the match as the lower-ranked side. They’ve played just two similar knockout matches since 1970. They tied both games 1-1 (against Argentina in Copa America 93 and against France in Mexico 86) but neither has much relevance to this fixture. Brazil have gone W0-D2-L4 in their last six World Cup games against top-10 ranked European opposition. Semi-finals are nothing new to Brazil. They’ve played in 15 since 1970 and have lost just two in normal time but they’ve been level after 90 on six occasions.
Germany have kept four clean sheets in their five matches so far as neither Algeria or France, two teams whose attacking prowess was praised in the Group Stage, managed to score past the impressive Manuel Neuer. Joachim Low’s side are now unbeaten in 16 Internationals and they’ve won their last five against top-10 ranked teams to nil. Germany have faced top-10 ranked South America teams four times this century and they’ve won twice with one defeat – the 2-0 loss to Brazil in the final in 2002. Since that final these two sides have squared off on three occasions with the spoils shared (W1-D1- L1) but none were at a World Cup.
This World Cup started with a flurry of goals – 13 of the opening 16 Group Stage matches featured at least three goals – but the number of goals per round has dropped consistently since then. 10 of the 12 knockout matches so far have had Under 2.5 Goals – and the two that didn’t ended 2-1 – while six have been drawn and four have been goalless. Goals have been a rare commodity in past World Cup Semis. In the eight editions since 1982, 13 of the 16 matches have had Under 2.5 Goals. Furthermore, five of the 10 such matches where fewer than five ranking places have separated the sides have gone to extra-time.
Germany look the better bet of the two teams here but some more general trends put us off backing them to qualify. For instance, home teams have played 13 knockout matches against teams ranked 1-5 places higher than them since 1970 and they are unbeaten in 90 minutes (W8-D5-L0). We’re also mindful that South American teams have coped much better in the heat in Brazil so far – although the conditions for this match shouldn’t be too testing. CONMEBOL sides have gone W14-D3-L3 against non-CONMEBOL sides so far in this tournament.
With a tight game expected, Neuer in the form he’s in and the Germans fantastic record in shootouts we are keen to keep them progressing by way of a shootout on our side.