Germany will enter the lion’s den on Tuesday to face hosts Brazil in Belo Horizonte. The two teams know what it takes at this stage of the competition and the winner will play Netherlands or Argentina in the final.
Brazil against Germany in Belo Horizonte will be the 22nd meeting between the sides. The Selecao have won 12 matches from 21, while the Germans have won only four. In the first two games, Pele was the match-winner, before Germany worked up to wins in 1986 and 1993. They have been largely free-scoring events, which goes against the round of 16 trend at the 2014 finals.
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 Seleção 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 (W8 D2).
Silva’s replacement in the Brazil team is likely to be Bayern Munich defender Dante. The defender has played 151 times in the German Bundesliga for FC Bayern and Borussia Monchengladbach.
Dante is one of four players (two of which are goalkeepers) in the Brazil squad yet to play a minute at the 2014 World Cup.
No side have kept more clean sheets in the 2014 World Cup than Germany (3), while Brazil have only kept one in their five matches.
Brazil have won just one of their last four World Cup matches against UEFA opposition. That victory came in the Group Stages of this tournament against Croatia (D1 L2).
Germany’s only defeat in their last nine matches against South American opposition at the World Cup came in the 2002 final versus Brazil. They have won six and drawn two of the other eight.
Germany’s last six goals in the competition have been netted by six different players.
Only Thomas Muller (4) has scored more goals for Germany in this competition than centre-back Mats Hummels (2).
Both teams had to rely on goals from centre-halves to win their quarter-final match (Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Mats Hummels).
Against Colombia, Brazil conceded 31 fouls; more than the Seleção have conceded in any single World Cup game from 1966 onwards.
Both team’s coaches have favored pragmatism over their nation’s respective football identities. We’ve seen no samba, or interchanging play, so far, with both teams opting to be stronger defensively and look to pick their moment to attack. Tuesday should be a fascinating tactical battle between the two coaches with so much at stake for the winner.
There won’t be many more chances for Miroslav Klose to break the World Cup goal-scoring record. It could even be his last game at a World Cup, should Germany lose to Brazil. He is currently level as the highest-scorer on 15 goals with Ronaldo. How fitting for the 36-year-old, if he could fire Germany to a World Cup final.