BELO HORIZONTE (SportingAlert) — World Cup action continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with the semi-finals, as the football fraternity brace itself for what is expected to be two exciting contests.
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Tuesday, 8 July 4:00 PM ET (17:00 Local time) at Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte
Watch Live Streaming on ESPN3.com, WatchESPN and ESPN TV Channel.
In the first of the two semi-finals here in Belo Horizonte, hosts and pre-tournament favourites Brazil will take on a very spirited Germany team in a repeat of the 2002 final, which Brazil won.
Brazil have been hit with two massive blow, following the back injury suffered by their talisman Neymar, who will miss the rest of the World Cup and the suspension of leading center-back and team captain Thiago Silva.
The hosts started the World Cup under a lot of pressure to add to their collection at the tournament they last won in 2002, which sometimes see them struggling in patches to play their usual fluent style of football.
Without Silva and Neymar, head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari will need to make major shuffles, but the latter, who has a fractured vertebra, remains confident that Brazil can still win the World Cup and fulfill his dream.
“My dream is not over yet,” he said. “It was interrupted by one move, but it will continue and I’m certain that my teammates will do whatever possible so I can fulfil my dream of being a champion.
“I won’t be able to fulfil the dream of playing in a World Cup final, but I’m sure they will win this one, they will become champions, and I will be there with them, and all of Brazil will be celebrating together.”
Germany, meanwhile, will have a different feeling than Neymar, and they should have all rights of doing so.
The Joachim Low coached team has been showing glimpses of what others believe they are capable of doing so far in the knockout round, and it strongly backs itself making the final.
Germany have not won the World Cup since 1990, but after reaching a record four successive semi-finals, Low’s men are now keen to go all the way this time.
Former skipper Lothar Matthaus, who was a member of Germany’s last World Cup winning team in 1990, also believes this team is ready to break some hearts in Brazil.
“Germany aren’t playing the same attractive football they did at the previous two World Cup finals,” Matthaus said on Fifa.com. “But Joachim Low has learned a thing or two. You don’t win titles playing pretty football.
“And the target for this German team is to win the World Cup in Brazil. That’s why we’re seeing a somewhat reserved approach. You only have to think about the four central defenders playing in the back four, with Philipp Lahm in the holding role.
“Germany had a few problems in the run-in. Important players were injured – like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and Miroslav Klose too. So Low probably felt he had to try something else and when you look at the results, it’s worked really well so far.”
Matthaus believes Germany will “win 2-1” and eliminate Brazil to battle for the World Cup third place honor.
Brazil defeated Colombia in their quarter-final match to get to this stage, with Thiago Silva and David Luiz netting, while Germany dumped France in their quarter-finals clash. Mats Hummels scoring the winning goal for the Germans.