UPDATE: New photos at the bottom of this page.
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Neymar is no more. So the biggest question for Brazil heading into its 2014 FIFA World Cup semifinal against Germany is who will bring the swagger?
Neymar, the gifted 22-year-old goal scorer, suffered a fractured vertebra in Brazil’s 2-1 win over rival Colombia in an incident that’s under investigation. He – along with his prolific production (4 goals/1 assist) – are now out of the World Cup.
And yet Germany’s task is no easier. While Neymar was the face of this Brazilian side, there is depth, speed and playmaking skill down the lineup. What the Germans now face is unpredictability. What attack will Brazil Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari employ?
Scolari engineered Brazil’s 2002 title using a trio of scorers. Look for him to go to a more balanced attack with English Premier League Chelsea star Oscar as linchpin, according to The Guardian.
The Brazilians have enjoyed a clear home field advantage as the World Cup host. That said, the early money has gone to Germany in Las Vegas betting houses, according to The Sporting News. With a 7-1 final score, Vegas was right!
After a four-goal explosion against Portugal, Germany has play four brilliant but conservative matches, culminating with a 1-0 quarterfinal win over France. Mats Hummels’ header in the 13th minute was the difference.
Germany, the 1990 World Cup champs, is playing in its fourth straight semifinal.
While American Tim Howard has gotten a lot of attention in defeat, German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has been an understated force in this World Cup with three shutouts.
Fans leaving after the first half…
This showdown between hemispheric powers is about more than soccer. A real test of the World Cup’s marketability is its TV drawing power stateside now that the U.S. has been eliminated. ESPN scored Friday. Brazil-Colombia drew 6.34 million viewers, the most ever for a quarterfinal, according to Deadline.com. Univision’s broadcast drew an additional 5.5 million. The Germany-France duel on ESPN2 delivered 4.89 million viewers.
The World Cup has been all the rage on social media too. The hashtag #nailart has blown up on Instagram, with more than 10 million posts in the past week, much of them featuring manicured talons festooned with nationalistic colors. FIFA’s official Instagram account has 800,000 followers and growing. http://instagram.com/fifaworldcup Its Twitter account has 2.7 million followers. https://twitter.com/FIFAWorldCup And even the ball has an official account, with 3 million fans. https://twitter.com/brazuca
Whoever wins in Brazil, it’s clear engagement has never been higher. Tell us: Even with the U.S. eliminated, do you still plan to watch the World Cup? Add your comments below.
Brazil vs Germany GamecastBrazil Line-up: Julio Cesar, David Luiz (c), Fernandinho, Marcelo, Hulk, Fred, Oscar,
Dante, Luiz Gustavo, Bernard, Maicon
Germany Line-up: Neuer, Hoewedes, Hummels, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Klose,
Muller, Lahm (c), Kroos, Boateng
10′ Corner, Germany. Conceded by Marcelo.
11′ Goal! Brazil 0, Germany 1. Thomas Müller (Germany) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Toni Kroos with a cross following a corner.
23′ Goal! Brazil 0, Germany 2. Miroslav Klose (Germany) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.
24′ Goal! Brazil 0, Germany 3. Toni Kroos (Germany) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Philipp Lahm.
26′ Goal! Brazil 0, Germany 4. Toni Kroos (Germany) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Sami Khedira.
29′ Goal! Brazil 0, Germany 5. Sami Khedira (Germany) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Mesut Özil.
First Half ends, Brazil 0, Germany 5.45′ Substitution, Brazil. Paulinho replaces Fernandinho.
45′ Substitution, Brazil. Ramires replaces Hulk.
45′ Substitution, Germany. Per Mertesacker replaces Mats Hummels.
68′ Dante (Brazil) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
69′ Goal! Brazil 0, Germany 6. André Schürrle (Germany) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Philipp Lahm.
70′ Substitution, Brazil. Willian replaces Fred.
76′ Substitution, Germany. Julian Draxler replaces Sami Khedira.
79′ Goal! Brazil 0, Germany 7. André Schürrle (Germany) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Thomas Müller.
90′ Goal! Brazil 1, Germany 7. Oscar (Brazil) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marcelo with a through ball.
Second Half ends, Brazil 1, Germany 7.
“Brazil have the pressure because they are playing at home.
If we play against 70,000-80,000 Brazilian fans in the stadium, it’s OK. Every one of us plays away from home in big games.
When you play at Tottenham, you are used to this – or in front of 40,000-50,000 at Liverpool as well.”
Lukas Podolski (Germany)
This is Germany’s 4th semifinal in a row and will bring André Schürrle face to face with several of his Chelsea teammates: Oscar, Willian and Ramires, as well as former teammate David Luiz, who has just been sold to Paris St-Germain.
Official Twitter accounts to followTwitter da Confederação Brasileira de Futebol @CBF_Futebol
David Luiz @DavidLuiz_4
Neymar Jr @NeymarJR
Brazil Team Roster on Twitter
Trending Brazil Tweets
Trending Germany Tweets
Map: Estádio Mineirao
More info about Estádio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte, Brazil