By, Kyle Gibson
No eloquent statement here. It sucks.
It just simply sucks that we as soccer fans have been robbed of Neymar, the most exhilarating player of the 2014 World Cup, when Brazil takes on Germany in today’s first World cup semifinal.
Not only is Brazil missing Neymar, but it is also without its captain, Thiago Silva.
I wrote on Saturday about how Brazil could cope with the loss of these two stars and I still believe these strategies will work.
Without its captain, Dante will probably start against Germany. The big defender plays for Bayern Munich, so that could be an advantage considering he’ll know half the German roster, but Dante isn’t quite the leader that Silva is.
With Neymar out, I can see Paulinho staying in the lineup when Luis Gustavo returns from suspension. The key to the game against Germany will be Oscar, who can take over games when he wants to, but also go missing at times. I think Oscar will play a more advanced central role in the midfield, with Fred as solo striker. Oscar played sensationally against Croatia in Brazil’s first World Cup game, he will have to play even better against Germany.
Dante would start on most teams, so I have no doubt he will perform pretty well, the only concern there is a lack of match sharpness. Dante’s Bayern Munich knowledge will be huge for Brazil leading up to this game.
The real key is Oscar, who often can disappear in big games and moments. Oscar has also rarely been the star of a midfield. At Chelsea, he plays with Eden Hazard, which somewhat limits his attacking chances. At Brazil, he has to attack with Neymar, a once in a lifetime talent. If and only if Oscar has a great game, Brazil has a chance to advance.
I think Brazil is lucky to be playing Germany at this stage. Even though it will be hungry to win its first semifinal in 3 attempts, there will probably be a bit of self doubt for the Germans, who have finished 3rd place in two straight World Cups. Germany is also not in its best form.
So, my analysis is going with my heart slightly more than my head. I say Brazil wins 1-0 after huge games from David Luiz, Dante and Oscar.
What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments or @kickingit10.