World Cup pre-game: Germany vs. Brazil
Will Neymar’s injury inspire the hosts to victory?
Germany vs. Brazil
- 4 p.m. ET, Tuesday, July 8
- CBC TV, cbc.ca/fifaworldcup
What’s at stake
An efficient German squad takes on a bruised Brazil in the first semifinal match.
Germany has shaken off injuries and the flu, although defender Shkodran Mustafi is out of the World Cup with a torn muscle in his thigh.
Brazil is without its top-scorer Neymar, who broke a vertebra against Colombia, as well as captain Thiago Silva, who will miss the game due to two yellows.
Brazil leads the head-to-head record 12-5-4 (W-D-L), with 39 goals to 24. Perhaps the most memorable matchup came in the 2002 World Cup final game in Japan. Brazil put two goals past an otherwise-solid Oliver Kahn, giving the nation its fifth crown.
The winner plays for it all in Rio against the winner of Argentina and the Netherlands on Sunday (CBC, CBC.ca/FIFAWorldCup, 3 p.m. ET).
Germany - Manuel Neuer. This wide-ranging keeper stopped everything the French threw at him, including a last-gasp attack from Karim Benzema.
Brazil - Julio Cesar. He kept Colombia off the scoreboard — except for the PK — and now has an even bigger job at the back with Silva sitting out.
What to watch for
German manager Joachim Loew made some important changes at the back end — such as moving Philipp Lahm to right back — in switching from a 4-3-3 to more of a 4-2-3-1. It paid early dividends, with Die Mannschaft pressing quickly and deeply. Mats Hummels then scored in the 13th minute off a free kick.
The Germans made excellent use of space and pace against France, setting the tone and commanding much of the game.
Brazi’s first half against Colombia was probably its best of this tournament so far. Nerves started to show somewhat after the break, but the Brazilians kept up the pressure to take the crucial win.
Brazil scored both of its goals against Colombia off set pieces. But in lacking those two stars players (Neymar, Silva), set pieces may hold the key to scoring against Germany.
These two teams are evenly matched in many ways so far in this World Cup, such as goals scored (10) and shots on target (70%).
They said it
“There’s room for improvement up front but they all want the same thing, and that's the title.” — Former German superstar Lothar Matthaus, speaking to FIFA.com about the current team’s confidence going into its match with Brazil.
“Neymar was our benchmark, one of our references because he is a player who makes a difference in any team. We’re in a situation where we’ve lost something we don’t want to miss, especially for the semifinal and final.” — Brazil’s manager Luiz Scolari, quoted in The Guardian about the loss of his biggest player.
The big number
2,938 — According to FIFA, Germany passed the ball that many times in its five games to date. This is the most, by far, of any semifinal team. For comparison, Brazil has completed 1,816 passes.
Obligatory fun fact
Thomas Müller stars in a yogurt commercial with legendary Germany striker Gerd Müller (no relation). The product? Mullermilch.