Brazil vs. Germany live team sheet

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Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has put his trust in Shakhtar Donetsk playmaker Bernard to help fill the void left by Neymar in  World Cup semi-final showdown with Germany, while Bayern Munich defender Dante is also drafted in to replace suspended skipper Thiago Silva.

David Luiz takes over the armband in Silva's absence as the Selecao bid to prove they have what it takes to continue their run of never losing a World Cup semi-final despite being without arguably their two-best players.

Scolari has made a third change not forced by suspension or injury to his line-up for the crucial clash, with Tottenham Hotspur midfield maestro Paulinho missing out.

Luis Gustavo returns from a ban of his own to provide solidity in central midfield alongside Manchester City's Fernandinho, which means Bernard must help provide a creative supply to break down a stubborn German defence along with Oscar, Hulk and Fred.

Brazil: Julio Cesar; Maicon, David Luiz, Dante, Marcelo; Fernandinho, Gustavo; Bernard, Oscar, Hulk; Fred

Germany meanwhile are unchanged from the team which ground out a 1-0 win over France in a hard-fought quarter-final, which means Philipp Lahm stays at full-back in a starting XI which shapes up as follows.

Germany: Neuer; Lahm, Hummels, Boateng, Howedes; Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Kroos; Ozil, Klose, Muller

Low's decision to keep Lahm at right-back means Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger will be trusted to win a midfield battle which looks crucial to the outcome of a potentially tight match, which features two sides with incredible World Cup records.

Brazil are unbeaten in 21 of their last 23 FIFA World Cup matches, while Germany have won 9 of their last 11 and kept a clean sheet in seven of those games.

With the Selecao missing two massive players Low's side will surely never get a better chance to prove they have the staying power to win a major international tournament, or at least reach a final, but still expect tonight's match to be decided by the finest of margins.

Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil could well make the difference if he finally finds top form when it matters most, but try telling that to a passionate home nation desperate to banish the ghosts of 1950.

Germany definitely have the stronger team with more experienced players at the highest level though and for that I'll plump for the European side to the ultimate party-poopers in a 2-1 win.

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