Brazil 2014: Injuries, suspension won’t diminish semifinal battles

The 2014 edition in Brazil cannot be less different, with Brazil up against Germany and Argentina taking on The Netherlands

The FIFA World Cup semi finals can be a very nervous stage of the competition, being one win away from the final and 90 minutes from a shot at glory.
The 2014 edition in Brazil cannot be less different, with Brazil up against Germany and Argentina taking on The Netherlands.
They are both semi finals clashes that will interest any football fan and not only the players and officials involved.
The last four games see Brazil face the German team on Tuesday, while the Dutch team take on Argentina on Wednesday.
However, the Brazilian team have been forced into a reshuffle without playmaker, Neymar, and suspended captain, Thiago Silva, as they look to realise their dreams of a sixth title.
The FC Barcelona striker had on Friday broken his third vertebra after being kneed in his back by Colombia’s defender, Juan Zuniga, in their 2-1 quarter-final win.
Silva also received a yellow card for blocking a clearance from Colombia’s goalkeeper, David Ospina, for his second booking in two matches.
Coach Luis Scolari hinted on Sunday that midfielder Willian da Silva could be his first option to replace Neymar, while defender Dante Costa would replace Silva on Tuesday night.
However, Scolari admitted that it would be tough without Neymar in the last four showdown.
But the smell of a sixth World Cup title should spur the Brazilians on against the Germans, who are three-time World Cup champions.
Germany on the other hand are looking to progress to the finals of the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 2002, when they lost to Brazil in Yokohama.
The two previous tournaments have seen the European powerhouse beaten at the semi-finals stage.
This time around, they will be looking to go one better.
Their match against the hosts’ at Estadio Mineirao Belo Horizonte presents the Germans an avenue to avenge the 0-2 loss of 2002.
Germany’s coach Joachim Low has, however, warned that the Brazilians should not be written off, even without Neymar and Silva.
Both sides have faced each other 21 times, with Brazil having the edge with 12 wins, while Germany has won four times with five draws.
In the other semi final clash, it can be a return to the final for Argentina for the first time since 1990.
They have won the World Cup twice and will be relishing the opportunity of winning it for the third time on the soil of their greatest rivals, Brazil.
The Dutch on the other hand have reached the World Cup final stage on three occasions and have never won it.
A win against Argentina in Sao Paulo will make it two finals appearances in succession, and an opportunity to avenge the 1978 final loss to the South Americans.
Both sides have faced each other eight times with Netherlands having the edge with four wins, while Argentina have won once with three draws.
Their last meeting was in 2006 at the Group stages in Germany with that match ending in a goalless draw.
The Arena de Sao Paulo, where they will clash on Wednesday night, is not new to both teams as they have already played against other opponents coming into the semi-finals.
At this venue, the Dutch beat Chile 2-0 there in their final Group game.
An Angel Di Maria goal also gave the South Americans a 1-0 win over Switzerland in their Round of 16 match.
Di Maria, who picked up a thigh injury in their 1-0 win over Belgium in the quarter-finals, will however miss the semi-final clash.
This will no doubt greatly impact on his side going forward.
However, the return of Manchester City’s striker, Sergio Aguero, from a hamstring injury will be a compensation.
Aguero should surely combine with the attacking force of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi, with good results expected from this.
The Netherlands on their part have a fairly strong squad to choose from for the game, with the likes of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder all fully fit.
However, the Europeans have their own share of injuries to worry about, with midfielder Nigel De Jong set to miss the game, having sustained a groin injury.
Centre-back Ron Vlaar, with a knee injury, is also a doubt for the encounter.
But, injuries and suspension notwithstanding, both semi-final encounters are sure to be explosive battles.