Brazil begins life without Neymar at this World Cup as they face Germany in Tuesday’s semi-final at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.
The Barcelona forward suffered a fractured vertebra following a clash with Jose Zuniga in Friday’s 2-1 win over Colombia and was ruled out of the rest of the competition by doctors after the match in Fortaleza. Reports in the Brazilian media claimed on Sunday that the 22-year-old could feature in the squad if Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side make the final, but his participation in this tournament remains unlikely and the Barcelona man is definitely sidelined for the game against Germany.
In the absence of Neymar, Scolari is set to choose between Willian, Bernard, Oscar and Hernanes to fill in for team’s most famous player. Captain Thiago Silva is also out after picking up a second yellow card in this competition against Colombia and the Paris Saint-Germain defender will be replaced by Bayern Munich’s Dante for the clash with Germany.
Brazil and Germany have only met once before at a World Cup and that was in the 2002 final when the Selecao won 2-0. There are no survivors from either side in the two squads this time around, but Scolari was the coach in his first spell as Brazil boss.
Like Scolari, who also made the last four with Portugal in 2006, Germany coach Joachim Loew is involved in a World Cup semi-final for the third time, having lost to winners Spain in 2010 and also assisted former boss Jurgen Klinsmann as the Mannschaft were beaten by Italy at home in 2006.
Shkodran Mustafi is sidelined for the rest of the tournament after picking up a thigh injury in the last-16 against Algeria, while Per Mertesacker has been laid low with flu, which affected a total of seven Germany players. Germany have yet to play in Belo Horizonte at this World Cup, but Brazil, unbeaten at home since a 1-0 defeat to Paraguay in 2002, return to the scene of last week’s win on penalties against Chile in the last 16.
Brazil have reached the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 2002, a year that they went on to lift the trophy.
The Selecao have lost none of their last six semi-final matches, winning five and drawing the other.
As such, Brazil have advanced through to the final in each of their last six appearances in the final four; needing penalties just once (versus Holland in 1998).
Germany are the first country to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in four consecutive tournaments.
However, they have reached the final just once (2002) in their previous three appearances at this stage.
This will be only the second meeting between these two nations at the World Cup.
The first clash came in the 2002 final when Brazil won 2-0; with Ronaldo scoring both goals.
Since that 2002 final the two teams have met three times in all competitions, including in the 2005 Confederations Cup. They have won one match each with the other ending in a draw.
Their last meeting came in August 2011. Goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger, Andre Schurrle and Mario Gotze helped Germany to a 3-2 win. Neymar and Robinho netted for Brazil.
Brazil have scored in each of their last 10 clashes with Germany, averaging 2.2 goals per game.
Neymar has scored four goals and assisted another in the 2014 World Cup; but will miss the rest of the tournament through injury.
The Barcelona forward has played a hand in 50% of Brazil’s 10 goals so far in the tournament.
Brazil’s captain Thiago Silva will miss the semi-final through suspension. Brazil have lost none of their last 10 matches that he has featured in (Won-8 Drawn-2).