Brazil and Germany will be hosting a 2002 World Cup Finals rematch on Tuesday, July 8 when they meet each other in the 2014 World Cup semifinals. The Brazilians are coming off arguably their best match of the tournament as they narrowly defeated Colombia 2-1, while the Germans convincingly defeated France 1-0.
Of course, the top stories coming into the semifinals revolve around the huge absences for Brazil. Their star forward, Neymar, has been sidelined for the rest of the tournament with a fractured vertebrae following a knee to the back. Their captain, Thiago Silva, is also suspended for the game after receiving a foolish yellow card against Colombia.
Brazil haven’t shown their usual “Joga Bonito” style that has defined their game for the past couple years, opting to apply a much more pragmatic game based on strong defense and Neymar-led counterattacks. But will that continue without two of their best players? Neymar is their top goal scorer and creator, while Silva has been key in covering the mistakes of Dani Alves and Marcelo.
Their likely replacements, Dante and Willian, while extremely capable players, will have trouble against the speedy German attack, and have to face a stingy defense.
Germany will come into the game with their morale at an all-time high. Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller have been playing at an amazing level, and don’t have any injuries to report. Look for the Germans to take advantage of the weak Brazilian midfield and dominate possession, creating a number of chances to score.
And while that would be similar to most of Brazil’s matches so far, Germany have shown that they’re a step above any of Brazil’s competition.
While Brazil can count on Luiz Gustavo once again after a one-game suspension, their form hasn’t been anywhere near good enough to see them get through their toughest opponent yet. They barely edged Chile and Colombia in the knockout stage, and that was more a product of their lack of finishing rather than Brazil’s merit. Germany won’t miss the many chances they’ll get without Silva leading the backline.
Brazil’s only hope lies in the hands of goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who will have to be amazing to stop any German attacks. However, Tim Howard and Keylor Navas have proven that amazing saves can only take a team so far before the goal is breached.
Prediction: Germany 2, Brazil 0