The semifinals of the World Cup will get kicked off with two heavy weights of the game when Brazil face Germany. Germany look like the favorites coming into the match playing very well leading up to this point, and they will be licking their chops looking at Brazil who will be missing their captain Thiago Silva and their star Neymar. The hosts still have a chance to win and move onto the final but they will have to adapt to missing two of their best players.
Neymar being ruled out of the rest of the World Cup through injury is an enormous blow to Brazil. He has been their best attacking player, and has been the focal point of their offense being their main goal scorer in a tournament where their front line leader Fred has failed to make an impact. Now the pressure of scoring goals will fall on the shoulders of Hulk, Oscar and Fred who have only scored two goals between the three of them this entire World Cup. One positive of this from the host’s perspective is that Germany will not have a specific player to focus on defensively. This just means that Germany will have to play a much more balanced on defense instead of being able to focus on one specific player like Neymar.
Although the loss of Neymar is huge, the loss of captain Thiago Silva through suspension might be even bigger. He is the leader and best defender for Brazil, and has played very well up until his incredibly thoughtless challenge on Colombia’s goalie that got him his second yellow card, meaning he would miss the semifinals. To beat Germany their back line will have to be excellent and that will be hard to do with their leader watching from the sidelines. His likely replacement will be Dante, which could be a positive for Brazil only for the fact that he plays at Bayern Munich and knows how many of the German attackers look to play. He faces players like Thomas Mueller, Mario Gotze and Tony Kroos everyday in training and that could be a great advantage for his team.
Up until this point in the World Cup Brazil have played well enough to make it to the semifinals, but it seems they have not yet played up to their potential. Reaching their full potential without two of their best players Neymar and Silva will be a tough task. Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari will have to find a way to both defend an incredibly strong attacking German team and attack a very organized team that has only given up three goals this entire tournament. Who he replaces Neymar with will show how he expects his team to play. Earlier in the tournament Hulk was replaced with Ramires against Mexico to play a more defensive style and Scolari could again try this tactic. If he decides to replace Neymar with Bernard or Willian it will be clear that he feels they need to attack the Germans.
Brazil will face Germany in the semifinals of the World Cup, but will need to improve if they want to reach the final. It will be an incredibly tough task, as the hosts will be playing without two of their stars Thiago Silva and Neymar. It will be a rematch of the 2002 World Cup Final where Brazil won 2-0 and Brazil will be hoping for a similar result in front of their home fans.
Commentary By Max Petkevicius
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