Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 preview: Five reasons why Germany will win
The sides meet in Belo Horizonte bidding for a place in the World Cup final
Ahead of the semi-final meeting between Brazil and Germany, we find a few reasons why Joachim Low's side will leave the host nation heartbroken.
1. Depleted Brazil
Brazil might be through to the last-four but there have been persistent questions about their squad's quality throughout the tournament. Those questions will only become more acute on Tuesday night with arguably their two best players missing. Neymar, the hosts' talisman who has scored four goals during the tournament, is out through injury. Brazil will also be missing their captain Thiago Silva who is suspended after picking up a booking in the win over Colombia. Those absences provide a significant boost for Germany.
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2. Less physical
Brazil's deficiencies on the quality front have been made up for on the physical one. Their quarter-final against Colombia was not for the faint-hearted with 53 fouls throughout; 31 of which were committed by the hosts. It hasn't gone unnoticed by Bastian Schweinsteiger. "Brazilians are not only football magicians, hard tackling is part of their game," said the Germany midfielder. However since their win over Colombia, in which ironically the Neymar injury highlighted their physical approach, there has been much debate over the leniency of referees. In such a climate, it's unlikely that Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez will allow Brazil to get away with so much, which should be an advantage to Germany. Philipp Lahm and his side have the highest average number of completed passes per match with 473.
3. It's Germany's time
No other nation has come so close to winning tournaments but failed to do so over the last decade. The Germans made it to the semi-finals of the last two World Cups, but were beaten by the eventual winners (Italy in 2006 and Spain in 2010) on both occasions. They also made it to the final of Euro 2008 and the semi-finals of Euro 2012, in which they were beaten again by Spain and Italy respectively. Surely their luck has to turn.
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4. A cagey game
There has been a distinct lack of goals since the group stages ended. Matches have averaged just 1.9 goals since the start of the knock-out phase and just five in the four quarter-finals combined. It doesn't bode well as the stakes rise even higher in the semi-finals - or at least not for fans. For Germany however it might not be such a bad thing. Brazil have looked all over the place at times and are certainly susceptible to a goal. Germany have looked organised and after they went 1-0 up against France they never looked like conceding. If they can gain an early advantage no side is better equipped to hold onto it.
Thomas Muller has four goals
5. Star player
Whilst Brazil are missing their talisman, Germany have a star player of their own impressing during this tournament. Thomas Muller has four goals to his name and a couple of assists too. He looks a menace and will go into this game high on confidence that he can add to his tally. In addition to that, Germany also have a player that can become the all-time leading World Cup goal scorer in Miroslav Klose. One more will take him above the legend that is Ronaldo - if he could achieve it against Brazil it would make it all the sweeter.
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