We have reached the business end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup – the semi-finals are about to get underway.
This is arguably the most painful time to lose – something which either Brazil or Germany will want to experience this evening.
Kick-off is hours away in Belo Horizonte and a place in the final is up for grabs.
It has been confirmed that David Luiz will captain the host nation at Estadio Mineirao, after FIFA rejected their appeal against Thiago Silva’s yellow card against Colombia which rules him out.
With the new Paris Saint-Germain player leading the home side, Bayern Munich’s Dante is expected to fill in alongside him in the heart of defence.
Though one decision everybody is waiting for is who will replace injured superstar Neymar.
The Barcelona man was stretchered off in the last 10 minutes of Friday’s quarter-final, after Juan Camillo Zuniga caught him a late knee in the back.
It was revealed that the 22-year-old had fractured his vertebra and would miss the rest of the tournament, while the authorities are investigating the Colombian’s very rash challenge.
Chelsea man Willian is expected to fill the huge gap though he himself has been suffering with back problems this week.
Another option could be to use fellow Stamford Bridge player Ramires in that role, as his incredible stamina and box-to-box style of play could come in very useful against a side that revel in the counter-attack.
Brazil overcame Chile at this stadium on penalties in the last 16, but they will want to avoid that scenario this evening with the Germans notorious for their record in shootouts.
Question marks remain over Joachim Low’s starting 11 tonight and whether he will stick with the same side that overcame France or not.
That would mean keeping captain Philipp Lahm at right-back ahead of his traditional holding-midfield role for country, and leaving the record-chasing Miroslav Klose up front looking for one more goal to become the FIFA World Cup’s all-time leading goal scorer.
Per Mertesacker was dropped for the last eight win over the French after he had looked susceptible against Algeria, but will hope for a return to the side ahead of Jerome Boateng.
The Germans’ record against Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men does not make too pleasant reading, with just four wins to Brazil’s 12. Though, they overcame the Samba Boys 3-2 in the most recent meeting between the sides nearly three years ago.
They have only met once in the greatest tournament in the world, that came in the 2002 final during Scolari’s first spell in charge with Ronaldo scoring both goals in the 2-0 win.
What a cracking match we have on our hands.
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