The semi-finals are upon us and what a selection of games they are. Here @0riginalfooty takes a look at the first match between Brazil and Germany.
Remarkably, this is only the second time in World Cup finals history that these two sides have met. A very surprising statistic given that these are two of football’s powerhouse nations. The first meeting was in the final in 2002; a match won by Brazil 2-0. However, it is a stretch of the imagination to think we will see that score line again this Tuesday evening.
Germany, whilst yet to hit top form, have been fairly comfortable in qualification to this point. They were rarely troubled by France in the quarter-finals and demonstrated their ability to hold on to a lead once they’ve got it. Brazil, on the other hand, are in turmoil. They face the prospect of testing themselves against, arguably, the biggest blockade to World Cup glory without their two best players (the extent to which their problems could prove damaging is explained here: https://originalfooty.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/is-this-the-end-for-brazil/).
So what can we expect from this match? As mentioned in the article linked above, Scolari has a major selection dilemma as to who will replace Neymar and it also remains to be seen if he sticks with Maicon or recalls Dani Alves. We should expect Brazil to let Germany have the majority of possession and look to hit them on the counter. Germany’s approach will be to wear Brazil down and unlock them with continuous, methodical approach play. Never has a first goal been so important for Brazil to score in a match. If the German’s get a lead in this match, it’s hard to see them surrendering it as they will begin to invite the Brazilians on to them and look to deliver the sucker-punch with conventional, ruthless German efficiency. If Brazil do manage to score first, however, it will completely change the complexion of the match. Germany will be forced to be more adventurous and faster in their approach play that could lead to more errors that Brazil will hope to seize upon to quickly break and create opportunities for themselves.
The match will be won and lost in the midfield. The likes of Kroos, Schweinsteiger and Ozil will be attempting to pick holes in the modified Brazilian back line whilst Fernandinho, Luis Gustavo and, if selected, Ramires will be working their socks off attempting to disrupt the German rhythm and launch fast and penetrative breaks. Whoever is more successful in their role will, ultimately, decide the outcome of the match and it’s fairly difficult to decide who it will be. So difficult, in fact, that I am going to opt for a draw and then expect the Germans to go through on penalties. For the sake of the neutral, we must crave a Brazilian goal to come first. If Germany score first they won’t lose but if Brazil nick a lead then we should have an open and exciting contest on our hands.
Prediction: Brazil 2-2 Germany (Germany to win on penalties)