Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 match preview: It’s all falling into place for ruthless Germans

Brazil will need luck and resilience against Joachim Loew’s impressive band of survivors

Rio de Janeiro

As the anxiety in Brazil ratchets up to higher levels ahead of Tuesday’s semi-final, Germany have at least heard it all before.

André Schürrle was one of many squad members made aware of what it means by Brazilian club-mates, having played with three  at Chelsea.

“You heard it from them  two months before the World Cup,” the forward said on Friday. “Everybody was talking about this.”

Now, Germany have the chance to end all the talk, to coldly kill all the chatter. It is possibly the perfect chance. As Brazil prepare for a hugely pressurised match without the injured Neymar and suspended Thiago Silva, the Germans have rarely looked so complete in this World Cup.

The violently frantic nature of the host’s 2-1 win over Colombia starkly contrasted with the serene ease of Germany’s 1-0 victory over France. It felt like a significant step-up in terms of composure from Jogi Loew’s team. That is also timely, because this semi-final represents a significant and symbolic milestone for the Germans too.

 

Hoping to finally win a first trophy in 18 years, they face the most-successful country in World Cup history, and in their own stadium. It would be quite a scalp for a German side so often accused of losing their own heads when it gets to games like this..

A few months before the World Cup, German under-21 manager Horst Hrubesch was asked by The Independent about the apparent inability of this generation to go and actually win a trophy. The coach had brought so many of the players through, but was also a member of the Euro 80-winning West Germany that set the stereotype for dispassionate winners. He was relaxed about the supposed problem.

“When we won the under-21 European Championships in 2009, we had a lot of players with great mentality like Manuel Neuer, Sami Khedira and Jerome Boateng,” Hrubesch said. “The boys must gain the experience at youth level so they get hungry for success.”

Read more: France 0 Germany 1 match report
Hummels says German dream has become a reality
Reaction: Germany looked like champions

It is possible that “experience” was the only thing missing before; the only element that needed to be added. A number of the defeated French squad mentioned it on Friday, not least Hugo Lloris and Morgan Schneiderlin, that they had been struck by the superior savvy of the Germans. The deep difference in tournament appearances between the two squads was mentioned before the game, and showed during it.

In certain ways, that 1-0 win over France was more impressive than the knock-out games that took this team to semi-finals in 2010 and  Euro 2012. All of those goal gluts had a similar pattern. Four years ago, Germany beat England 4-1 and then Argentina 4-0. Two years ago, they beat Greece 4-2. Although those victories fully displayed their attacking dynamism, the open nature of the matches exposed the defensive issues that would eventually cost them in the more-exacting stage of the semi-final, particularly in the 2-1 defeat to Italy in Euro 2012.

Here, innocent freewheeling was replaced with intelligent control. Although Germany still looked susceptible to balls over the top, the formation switch helped them gradually counter that, and there was a responsibility to the way they conserved energy in the Rio heat.

Mats Hummels heads past Hugo Lloris for the only goal of the game Mats Hummels heads past Hugo Lloris for the only goal of the game That canniness has been more evident throughout this World Cup as a whole. Previously, this German team has been accused of being a bit too naive. Against Pepe and Portugal in their opening game, however, Thomas Muller showed a gamesmanship and hard edge to get the defender sent off that was so much more reminiscent of the ruthlessness of Hrubesch’s generation.

“We were all very experienced players from great clubs in Germany,” Hrubesch said of his team. “The main thing was that we all knew that we can only win together – as a team.”

Schürrle referenced a similar atmosphere in the present side: “We have this feeling. We are really close. You feel everybody wants this. We have a big opportunity now to win this title.”

Many aspects are falling in their favour. It is not just that Neymar and Silva are out as important personalities in the Brazilian team. Spain are out too, the side that beat Germany in Euro 2008 and 2010 and represented the benchmark they couldn’t quite reach. Loew’s team have always been primed to replaced them. Secondly, there are the players who step in for Felipe Scolari. The hosts won’t now have the pace to really expose that German defensive weakness.

Brazil look like they are going to resilience and luck, probably a combination of both, to prevent their house party from ending prematurely. Germany have revelled in that role in the past, as Hrubesch knows.

This was the country that beat Hungary in 1954, Holland in 1974 and France in 1982.

Schürrle struck a familiar theme: “We don’t care who we play. “It’s about us.”

How they match up

Germany and Brazil have met  21 times, with the South Americans winning 12 and five games drawn.

This is the 11th time Brazil have reached the last four of the World Cup, and the eighth time they have made the actual semi-final stage – the tournaments of 1950, 1974 and 1978 used a later group stage. They have played in seven finals, although one of those matches was merely the decider in a group stage.

This is the 13th time Germany – or West Germany – have reached the last four, and their 11th appearance in the actual semi-final stage. They have played in seven finals.

However, Brazil and Germany have only met once in the World Cup. That was the 2002 final, when Brazil won 2-0.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

News
i100
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Voices
The number of children in relative income poverty is currently 2.3 million in the UK
voices

Environment
A Brazilian wandering spider
natureIt's worth knowing for next time one appears in your bananas
Life and Style
Time and Oak have developed a product that allows drinkers to customise the flavour and improve the quality of cheaper whiskey
food + drink

Sport
football

Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday

Life and Style
The final 12 acts will be facing Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Mel B and Louis Walsh tonight
fashion

The X Factor's judges colourful outfit was mocked by Simon Cowell

Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past