Two of the most decorated and celebrated teams in the world will clash in the World Cup semifinals as Brazil and Germany take the field Tuesday at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.
Brazil hopes to make its first trip to the final since their championship run back in South Korea in 2002 when they defeated Germany 2-0. The Germans have finished in third-place in the last two Cups, but haven’t won since 1990.
Germany bested rival France 1-0 off Mats Hummels header goal in the first 20 minutes of play, while Brazil escaped a late surge from Colombia and walked away with a 2-1 victory but lost star forward Neymar for the rest of the tournament.
It’s a World Cup record fourth consecutive trip to the semifinals for Germany with midfielder Thomas Muller leading the attack with four goals and two assists and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer registering 17 saves and three clean sheets during the team’s five-match unbeaten streak.
Brazil leading scorer Neymar suffered a fractured vertebra after Colombia defender Juan Zuniga kneed him in the back in the 86th minute of play Friday. The 22-year-old, who’s totaled four goals in his first World Cup, was taken off the field on a stretcher crying, and it was revealed after the match that he will miss the duration of the Cup.
The injury reportedly won’t require surgery, and Neymar flew back with his teammates to Rio de Janerio following the win over Colombia and then rode in an ambulance to the team’s training facility in Teresopolis. It’s unclear if Neymar will remain with the team for the rest of the tournament.
While the Germans have largely outplayed all their opponents, with the 2-2 result with Ghana during group play being the only exception, host-nation Brazil has been inconsistent even with Neymar on the pitch.
Selecao did finish first in their group, but struggled to maintain the flow of their attack and to close out matches. They ran into a wall against Mexico during group play, drawing nil-nil after failing to slip past keeper Guillermo Ochoa and a strong Mexican backline.
In the Round of 16, Brazil was nearly eliminated by South American rival Chile, despite generating more than double their opponents shots on target and corner kicks, but escaped with a 1-1 (3-2) victory after a penalty shootout.
Date: Tuesday, July 8
Start Time: 4 p.m. EST
TV Channel: ESPN