The round of 16 game against Chile was all down to the heroics of goalkeeper Julio Cesar and the quarter-final against Colombia was all about the magic moments and a few cynical challenges.
Brazil have failed to assure that they have title credentials with no yesteryear magic or star players, but they have won ugly and progressed and that is what matters.
Coach Luis Filipe Scolari has worked impressively with his squad and has proved that he doesn’t always need the likes of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo to lead an assault.
Germany’s World Cup campaign has seen it all – failed tactics, controlling the game with those same tactics, getting hit on the counter against an inferior side, scoring on the counter against a good side.
Coach Joachim Loew was criticized for his tinkering with the team and trying to upset the already set formation. It worked against Portugal but they almost went boring against Ghana and Algeria in their other games.
Luckily for them, against France we saw the 2010 Germany back again and while it was not exactly the same cavalier team, a controlled midfield performance saw them win by a solitary goal and see off the French team.
This game looks to be an interesting tactical battle. With Neymar out injured, Scolari will have a tough task to replace him.
Neymar had a free role, drifting from the flanks to the center to pick up the ball alongside Oscar who did the same. His likewise replacements are Chelsea winger Willian and Shaktar Donetsk’s Bernard; Willian might be the preferred starter for his industrious runs and better defensive capabilities helping out right back Maicon (expecting him to start due to Germany’s midfielders who drift out wide sometimes).
Though Germany does not have natural wingers to threaten Brazil on the flanks they do have players like Mesut Ozil and Thomas Mueller who rely on movement to create space for themselves and their teammates. Luis Gustavo will return from suspension and Paulinho might make way.
Germany’s double midfield pivot of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira made a return against France and the immortal striker, Miroslav Klose spearheading the attack, some déjà vu indeed.
Against France they were helped by the space left between defence and midfield which they exploited to the fullest. Toni Kroos, Ozil and Khedira wreaked havoc for a large part and troubled the French midfield; expecting the same in this match. Loew might be tempted to put up the same starting XI against Brazil.
So how closely are these two teams matched? It shows in the offered odds – both are 9/5 to win the game in 90 minutes according to bet365, while Paddy Power offers 9/4 for a drawn game.
Match to go to extra time (yes): 21/10 (Bwin)
Brazil to win on penalties: 10/1 (BetVictor)