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Blog - Five Aside

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Five Aside: Germany - Brazil preview

Brazil prepares to face Germany in their upcoming semifinal matchup without some of their star players.

Brazil and Germany, the two countries that have played the most World Cup matches, will meet each other for only the second time at the World Cup. The advancing team will be the first team in history to reach eight World Cup finals.

Here are five things to watch for when the Brazilian Seleção meets the German Mannschaft:

1. These teams don't meet often at the World Cup, considering their respective storied histories. The only previous meeting was the 2002 World Cup final, a 2-0 Brazil victory behind a pair of Ronaldo goals that gave Brazil its fifth and most recent title. This is Brazil's first semifinal since 2002, while Tuesday will be Germany's fourth-straight semifinal appearance, though they have not won the title since 1990.

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2. The Brazilians will have to replace one of the tournament's top performers after Neymar fractured a vertebra in Brazil's 2-1 quarterfinal win against Colombia. The 22-year-old Neymar is Brazil's leader in goals (four), shots (18) and chances created (13) at this World Cup. The only Brazilian with more World Cup goals before age 23 than Neymar is Pelé (seven), and Neymar's 35 international goals are more than any two other players on Brazil's current roster combined. Brazil's three other forwards (Fred, Hulk and Jô) have one combined goal at the tournament.


3. The Germans have some attacking options of their own. Thomas Muller has four goals in the tournament and is one shy of becoming the 13th player (and fifth German) to score 10 career World Cup goals. Only three players have more World Cup goals than Muller before age 25 -- France's Just Fontaine (13), Hungary's Sandor Kocsis (11) and countryman Gerd Muller (10). German forward Miroslav Klose has 15 career World Cup goals, tied with Ronaldo for the most in history and the most by any German in tournament history. As this is likely the last World Cup for the 36-year-old Klose, time is running out for him to claim the solo record.

Brazil vs. Germany: Tuesday, 4 ET, 9 BST (ESPN and WatchESPN)

- Marcotti: Titans collide in the semifinals
- Honigstein: Bierhoff's technological focus
- Torre: Scolari lightens the mood

- Brewin: Battered Brazil vs. vulnerable Germany
- Smith: Jogo bonito the exception, not the rule
- 50-50 Challenge: Brazil vs. Germany
- Duarte: Brazil move past star absences
- Cox: Brazil and Germany's role reversal

4. Brazilian captain and starting center back Thiago Silva is unavailable due to his accumulation of yellow cards, though the team is appealing to FIFA regarding his yellow card versus Colombia. Silva is tied for the tournament lead with eight blocked shots, and his 46 clearances are second-most at this World Cup. Silva's replacement is likely to be Dante, a familiar face to the Germans. Dante plays at Bayern Munich with seven members of Brazil's squad, including six starters from the quarterfinal against France.


5. This year's version of Germany hasn't been as active defensively as German World Cup squads in years past. The Germans have averaged 7.8 pass interceptions per game this year after averaging 21.0 per game in the past three World Cups. The Germans have fewer tackles per game (16.4 to 20.0) and more failed tackles per game (9.0 to 6.8) in 2014 compared to the three World Cups from 2002-10. As a result, German opponents this year are completing 84.5 percent of passes, third highest in the tournament and the second highest allowed by Germany in the past 50 years.