Tuesday, July 08, 2014

World Cup semifinals - usual suspects present. Brazil v Germany

So we are heading to the final matches of what has been a great World Cup. For all the fire works we saw in the group stages and the upsets, we have four teams that are the usual suspects - Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Holland. Between them they have won 10 World Cups and reached the finals 21 times. While Holland has never won the cup they are clearly the greatest footballing nation to have never won a cup. Is this their year? Anyways, some great match ups between footballing powers...so what will happen?

Germany v Brazil: Die Mannschaft have made a record 4th semi final in a row. The last time they failed to reach the semi finals was 1998 where they were man handled by a young Croatian side. Since then they have made the 4 semi finals, but only reached the finals once. That was back in 2002 where they ended up losing to Brazil in the finals. They then lost to Italy in 2006 at "their" World Cup in Germany and 4 years ago got swept aside in the semi finals against Spain. So will this be the World Cup for Germany? They seemed to have found, or stumbled, back into the best formation. Lahm at right back, two holding midfielders in Kedhira and Schweinsteger and even having Klose up front as a natural striker allowing Muller to go back to the left. In front of them they will be facing a Brazil side that has really failed to impress this entire tournament.

I read somewhere that if Brazil win with Fred up front, it will be the worst striker for a winning
Who was this amateur striker playing w Zizou?
side since Guivarch in 1998...I couldn't agree more! Hulk has been useless other than running around and from time to time uncorking canon left footed shots....that are no where near going into the goal. Oscar has been a shell of himself, or at least what we are believed him to be. And let's not get too excited about Cesar and his tears after the PK shoot out win...he is still terrible.

Add to this the fact that Brazil will be without their two best players. Neymar and Silva are out. The former due to a broken vertebrate. The latter out because of yellow card accumulations. The Brazilian FA appealed, but come on, Silva picked up a yellow against Colombia for maybe the dumbest play - interfering with the keeper as he was trying to punt the ball down field. Just for the sheer stupidity of what Silva did, he should get a 2 game ban. Regardless, Brazil will be without their best player - people say Argentina is "Messi dependent," the same can be said for Brazil and Neymar. Brazil will also miss their captain and best defender, really their only defender since the other three that play on "defense" all see themselves as strikers forced to start their runs from their own penalty box. When you swap out Alves for Maicon, because Maicon is a better "defensive" option....yikes. Now that David Luiz scored on the free kick look for him to channel his inner Beckenbauer during the semis.

So Germany should roll...not so fast. From the reports, Scolari will pack his midfield, maybe slot Hulk atop of a 4-2-3-1 formation. Or go with a 4-3-3 and pack the midfield with Gustavo, Fernandinho and Paulinho. Also look for Brazil and their fans, to continue with intimidating the officials. Something that cannot be overlooked. I think Brazil will be embellishing, flopping more than usual and look for them to try and get in more little cheap fouls, like they did against Colombia, hoping to throw the Germans off their game. The reality is that the Germans also did not look that great in open play against the French. Where they did look deadly was on their set pieces. Each time Kroos took a free kick or corner it felt the Germans could score - something that Brazil will have to be aware of if they start fouling the Germans. But they are Neymar dependent. Without their #10 I cannot see how they can weasel their way past the Germans and if it goes to PKs I don't think Cesar will be given to gifts which even he cannot miss on.

Germany is too clinical, have the right formation (finally) and their keeper is in top form.

Germany 2 - Brazil 0

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