World Cup 2014: Brazil to take on Germany in first semifinal today

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Belo Horizonte (Brazil), July 8: A Brazil versus Germany encounter is perhaps the best a World Cup can witness and the quadrennial tournament will see the second of such titanic clash at the Estádio Mineirão here on Tuesday.

FIFA RANKINGS: GERMANY 2, BRAZIL 3

The last time these two teams had met was in the final of the 2002 edition in South Korea and Japan when Brazil won 2-0.

Both these teams have all the experience in the world (Germany have played 105 WC matches as against Brazil's 103) with both coaches in their third World Cup semifinals. Luis Felipe Scolari had earlier led his team to the World Cup semifinals in 2002 (with Brazil) and 2006 (with Portugal) while Joachim Low was the assistant coach to Jurgen Klinsmann in the 2006 World Cup when Germany made the semifinals and also in 2010 when he led his home country to the semi-finals in South Africa.

In the 2002 final, Ronaldo had the last laugh in his duel with Oliver Kahn

Hosts Brazil will be without the service of Neymar, who was knocked out of the World Cup with a broken vertebra in the quarterfinal match against Colombia, and captain Thiago Silva, who is facing a suspension after running into the Colombian goalkeeper in the same match. But the fact that Brazil are playing in their home soil where they have remained unbeaten since 1975 will be an encouraging fact for their supporters.

Also in the 21 matches that they have played Germany so far, Brazil have won 12 of them while four were drawn. But on the field on Tuesday, the trio of Hulk, Oscar and Bernard backed by David Luiz will have to produce something magical against the European powerhouse.

For the Germans, the momentum was not much there after the 4-0 win over Portugal in the opening match but still the side displayed a clinical approach in each of their games played so far. All eyes will be on Thomas Muller who scored the first hat-trick of this World Cup and also goalkeeper Manual Neuer who could come handy in case the match goes into the tie-breaker. The good news for the Germans is that none of their key players are in the list of the injured. Veteran Miroslav Klose is also one goal away from breaking Ronaldo's record of 15 goals in the World Cup finals.

Roads to semifinal:

Brazil:
Beat Croatia 3-1, drew Mexico 0-0, beat Cameroon 4-1, beat Chile 3-2 (on penalties) in pre-quarterfinal, beat Colombia 2-1 in quarterfinal

Germany: Beat Portugal 4-0, drew Ghana 2-2, beat USA 1-0, beat Algeria 2-1 in pre-quarterfinal, beat France 1-0 in quarterfinal

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