Can A Depleted Brazil Still Progress?

Neymar - World Cup Injury
Neymar's World Cup ends in agony. Image courtesy of

Brazil Flag

Brazil v Germany

Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte
Wednesday July 9 – 6:00 AM (AEST)

Germany Flag

A short-staffed Brazil side missing both their captain and star player battle Germany for a spot in the World Cup final.

The hosts emerged victorious in the quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over Colombia, but it came at a massive price. Brazilian talisman Neymar copped a knee to the lower back from Juan Zuniga, and the severity of the injury was immediately clear judging by the forward’s reaction. Following scans and x-rays, the team doctor pronounced Neymar had in fact fractured his vertebrae, ruling him out of the rest of the tournament. To rub salt into the Brazilian fans’ wounds, captain Thiago Silva picked up a second yellow card, meaning he’ll miss Wednesday morning’s clash through suspension. Silva is arguably just a big blow as Neymar. The PSG defender’s leadership and organisational skills will be sorely missed, and the likes of David Luiz and Dani Alves will have to step up to the plate and dictate play from the back. It’s not all doom and gloom though, with an array of talent waiting for their chance to shine. The depth of Luiz Fellipe Scolari’s squad cannot be underestimated, and although Neymar’s boots will be near impossible to fill, the likes of Ramires and Willian are certainly capable of performing on the world stage.

Unlike Brazil, Germany’s 1-0 quarter-final win over France failed to produce any major injury concerns. This, added to the fact that Germany are playing close to their best football, is the reason why this match-up is a genuine toss of the coin. The Germans have been faultless in defence, conceding just three goals in five matches. They haven’t lacked in finding the net either (10 goals), and with Thomas Muller establishing himself as a genuine in-and-out goal scorer, Brazil will have their work cut out trying to contain him. Coach Joachim Low chose to start veteran striker Miroslav Klose in the win over the French to add a little more firepower up front. It will be interesting if he goes with the same tactics. If he does, it's definitely a positive move. The Germans will be out to breakdown their opponent’s defence from the get go, and if they manage to knick an early goal, they’ll look to control the game, and possibly shut out the contest for a 1-0 win, like they did against USA and France.

The obvious question ahead of this encounter is how much will Brazil miss Neymar? The Barca forward has scored four and set up one of his side’s ten goals in the tournament. Cheslea midfielder Oscar looks to be the one Germany will have to monitor closely, but with powerful midfielder Sebastian Schweinsteiger targeting the youngster, he may be overwhelmed. It’s a perfect moment for Germany to capitalise on Brazil’s misfortune, but they’ll have to block out Brazil’s twelfth man, the loud home crowd, in doing so. Extra-time and penalties wouldn’t be all that surprising, but it’s likely to come down to one moment of brilliance (or catastrophe) in regulation time.


Nick's Tip: Germany to win 1-0 

Nick Chin - Twitter

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