The 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-finals are only just hours from starting. The first encounter has been hotly anticipated since the match was confirmed when Brazil booked their place with a 2-1 victory over Columbia. Although the hosts hold an edge over their fierce adversaries, they are going to have to put in their most impressive shift yet if they are to progress to the final.
With the ineffable Brazilian captain Thiago Silva, suspended for the semi-final after picking up a yellow card for a silly challenge on the keeper, the nation was rocked with the news that boy-wonder Neymar would play no further part in the tournament after fracturing a vertebra. Beating a superb all round footballing machine will not be made any easier with your star attacker and defender both missing.
Battle of attrition
Nevertheless, given the stakes on the line in this impending showdown, it stands to reason that another thriller is in store. The Germans have not looked at dominant as they did in their opener when the downed a 10 man Portugal. They have picked up a couple of one nil victories en route to the semi-final, so a gritty and physical encounter is expected too. Germany and Brazil have combined to win eight of the last nineteen World Cup titles.
Thinking tactics, Germany
Jaochim Low will look to Thomas Mueller to be an advantage as the young German has motivation to chase the Golden Boot, having not scored in the last two games. Mueller won the Golden Boot four years ago in South Africa so we know he is very much capable of the task at hand. The depth of the german squad has come into play very effectively in this tournament. With Klose having struggled in the last game, it seems Mueller will regain the position leading the line whilst Andre Schurrle and Mario Gotze will fight it out for a place on the left.
The 12th Man
Even with two players out, home advantage cannot be ruled out. The power of the 12th man will play a pivotal role for the Selecao, with the most rousing national anthem still yet to be sung. The Brazilian fans will most definitely try and make it as difficult as possible for Germany as jeers will probably accompany most of their touches. This would be a monumental win for the Germans, much to the chagrin of an entire host nation.