As the World cup draws nearer to its conclusion on Sunday there are still four sides battling it out for the main prize. However, arguably this tournament means more to hosts Brazil than any other nation in the final four. The scenes on Copacabana beach whenever Brazil are in action shows how badly the people of Brazil want to see Thiago Silva lifting the World Cup trophy come Sunday evening.
Brazil however find themselves having to face a resolute German side in Belo Horizonte without their two most important players. Neymar had the hopes of a nation resting on his young shoulders before a ball had even been kicked and many predicted him to be one of the stars of the competition. His four goals have helped Brazil to get to this stage however; a bad challenge from Juan Zuniga left the star man with a fractured vertebrate which has sadly ended his tournament. Arguably the absence of Captain Thiago Silva will be even more costly for the hosts as he has been a rock in the back four alongside David Luiz. Silva is widely regarded as the best centre half on the planet at the moment and it will be a challenge for Dante, who has not played any minutes so far, to deputise for him after he picked up a second booking and thus is suspended for the semi-final.
Whist Brazil rightly the favourites in the tournament they have been criticised by some for not showing the type of Brazilian flair we are used to seeing from sides of the past. The group stage was never going to prove much of a challenge as they quite comfortably topped the group with two victories and a draw against Mexico. However, Croatia and Cameroon did both have spells in the game which Scolari is sure to be concerned about.
The round of 16 tie against dark horses Chile was far from straightforward and only Julio Cesar’s penalty shootout heroics and a crucial missed spot kick from Jara prevented a catastrophic second round exit for the hosts. The quarter final against Colombia was also a tense affair Thiago Silva put Brazil ahead early on before a stunning David Luiz free kick put his side into a comfortable lead but a penalty from standout player of the tournament so far James Rodriguez set up a nervy finale of the game. Brazil hung on but lost Neymar to that awful injury. Now they will play Germany in the semi-finals and the atmosphere will be electric from the moment the players come out for the pre-match warm up. So far Brazil have received more plaudits for their passionate rendition of the national anthem than their football and they will need to be at their very best if they are to break down the Germans solid defence without Neymar.
Brazil are heavily expected to win the tournament in their own country and with the tremendous support of the country the players may be able to find that extra gear to kick on and be victorious in five days’ time.