Brazil faces Germany without Neymar, captain Thiago Silva
-, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Jul 8, 2014-
Brazil will grind to a halt when the hosts, missing injured talisman Neymar and suspended captain Thiago Silva, take on European heavyweights Germany in their World Cup semi-final in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.
Neymar fractured a vertebra in the quarter-final against Colombia is out for the rest of the tournament, while center back Silva picked up a needless booking that means his World Cup will also be over unless Brazil can progress to Sunday's final against Argentina or the Netherlands who meet on Wednesday.
For Brazil, failure to reach the showpiece match at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium would be a national catastrophe. The South Americans beat Germany to win the 2002 final.
The Germans, who dispatched France in the last eight, have shown their usual ruthless efficiency in reaching the semi-finals for the fourth consecutive World Cup but are without a triumph since 1990 and a major title since winning Euro '96.
Scolari said the team is over the shock of losing the player and has changed the focus to trying to get ready for the match against Germany. He said Neymar, who scored four goals in the group stage, had already done enough for the national team.
''When Neymar had to go, he left a lot of him with us and he took a lot of us with him,'' Scolari said. ''We are already done with this process of being sad. When Neymar himself began talking to the other players after what happened, they understood that he has done his part already.''
Scolari called Neymar ''one of our references'' and ''one of the best in the world,'' but he reminded that Brazil has ''22 other players who know they are special.''
''We will miss Neymar's competiveness, his happiness,'' Scolari said. ''But we have a group of quality players and they can overcome the challenges and help the team advance.''
Germany coach Joachim Loew said he expects Brazil to be extra motivated because of Neymar's absence.
''I'm certain all the other players will be fighting for him, fighting for their nation,'' Loew said.
Brazil captain Thiago Silva, who is suspended for the game, said the group will be playing with Neymar on their minds.
''Now it's time for the other 22 players to take on the responsibility of playing well and getting the win, especially for him, who wanted to be here now but unfortunately was taken out of a World Cup because of a what I think was a cowardly challenge.''
Silva said the foul that took Neymar out of the World Cup, a knee in the back by Colombia's Juan Camilo Zuniga late in the quarterfinal match against Colombia, was ''not a normal move.''
''Being a defender I know how to defend and that type of defending doesn't exist. It's impossible to get your knee through someone to get to the ball on the other side. Unless you want to hit the other player. That's not a normal match situation.''
FIFA earlier Tuesday said it will not take action against Zuniga.
Published: 08-07-2014 19:20