Jul 7, 2014, 1:40 PM EDT
With injuries and suspensions impacting Luis Felipe Scolari’s lineup decisions ahead of Brazil’s World Cup semifinal clash with Germany, the Brazilian head coach certainly has a selection headache.
Neymar is out injured for the rest of the tournament, plus captain Thiago Silva to miss out through suspension. Two of Scolari’s key players are missing for Brazil’s toughest test yet.
[ RELATED: Neymar denies comeback reports ]
As for Germany, they are fully fit as Joachim Low’s men continue to grind out wins and get past teams with solid, yet unspectacular performances.
Let’s take a look at how both teams could line up on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.
BRAZIL’s STARTING XI
If you look at this starting XI below, the two missing players are mammoth. However, with Willian coming in for Neymar out wide and Dante replacing Thiago Silva in defense, it certainly isn’t a disaster. Other areas which could change are Dani Alves coming back in to replace Maicon at right back, Paulinho starting ahead of Luis Gustavo and the potential for Hulk to play up top on his own with Oscar supporting him. Ramires could then come in out wide, as Fred and Jo just haven’t performed in the central strikers role throughout the entire tournament. In the formation below it is likely that Oscar and Hulk will interchange to try and cause Germany’s defense plenty of issues. Balls in-behind Germany’s defense to use the pace of Willian and Hulk in the channels will be Brazil’s key threat going forward. As you can gather, there are plenty of moving pieces here for Scolari to tinker with. He has options, but will his attacking players finally step up when it matters in Neymar’s absence?
— Julio Cesar —
GERMANY’s STARTING XI
Low’s decisions are more straight-forward, as Germany looked solid and steady in dispatching a very talented French team at the quarterfinal stage. They may well remain the same. One of the big issues in the last few games has been at the back. Although they have only conceded three goals in five games during the entire tournament, the German defense keeps getting turned and put on the back foot way to easily. Against the likes of Willian and Hulk the towering German defense could face some issues with pace. Going forward, Low may decide that Andre Schurrle is a better option than Mesut Ozil in this match. Arsenal’s playmaker has struggled to get going in this World Cup and every time Schurrle has come off the bench he has looked incredibly dangerous. Schurrle’s pace out wide would also counteract Brazil’s full backs pushing up and allow Germany to quell the speed of Brazil’s wingers. Another option to bring back in could be Mario Gotze, as Bastian Schweinsteiger or Sami Khedira could be replaced due to Gotze’s natural creative flair.
— Neuer —
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