Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 match preview: Luis Felipe Scolari has one eye on the final despite Neymar absence for Germany showdown
Scolari insists that reaching the final was always the goal for his Brazil side but they will have to do it without the injured Neymar that has carried them throughout the tournament
Tuesday 08 July 2014
Neymar will have to watch from his sofa, but that will not stop Brazil from beating Germany, according to coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Brazil and Germany will lock horns on Tuesday night for a place in the World Cup final.
For the first time at this World Cup, Scolari will have to do without Neymar, who is out of the tournament because of a back injury he sustained against Colombia.
Bernard and Willian, the two favourites to replace Neymar in the starting XI, are nowhere near as good as the 22-year-old Barcelona star, but Scolari has faith in his team to get the job done.
"Neymar is one of our references and one of the best players in the world, but we have another 22 players who have been hand-picked and capped because we know they are special," the Brazil coach said.
"Those guys who come in are special. They can make a big difference. This is what we are conveying to our players. We will miss Neymar, but we have a team who can overcome the difficulties and go on into the next round.
"That's the goal the group has had since the beginning: to qualify for the final."
Scolari invited Neymar to the semi-final in Belo Horizonte, but the Brazil Football Federation said the forward will instead be recuperating in Sao Paulo.
Brazil captain Thiago Silva has branded Juan Zuniga a "coward" for causing the injury that ended Neymar's World Cup.
Silva defended Zuniga immediately after Brazil's quarter-final win, insisting the Napoli defender did not have any "nastiness" in him.
However, the Paris St Germain defender has clearly had a change of heart on the matter.
"It was a coward's tackle," Silva said.
"Some people say it was normal, but I don't think it was.
"That kind of challenge isn't done. You can't get the ball from someone by putting your knee into a player's back, it's not normal."
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World football's governing body also confirmed on the eve of the Germany game that Silva's appeal against his second yellow card of the tournament, which came when he blocked Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina, had failed.
That means Brazil's captain will be banned from the semi-final, much to his annoyance.
"I was trying to avoid making fouls against Colombia. I think it was the only one I committed in the match, so it's difficult not being in this game and I'll suffer," he said.
"It'll be tough but I don't think my mission is complete in this World Cup.
"It's made the group more united, the fact that Neymar and I can't play. It strengthens the group immensely."
Luiz is set to captain Brazil in Silva's absence Silva is sure his replacement, Dante, will do a good job against the Germans.
"He's ready," said Silva, who will hand the captain's armband to David Luiz.
"He works very hard. He is one of the first out at training and one of the last to leave, so he has the energy and the skills."
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