Football fans across the globe have got a good dose of entertainment in Brazil 2014 World Cup. After the shock exits and the rise of new stars in the group stages and quarter finals, four of the footballing giants will battle it out in the semi-finals. Host Brazil take on Germany, while Argentina will face Netherlands for a spot in the finals. So what are the odds of the four teams? Strengths and gaps?
The hosts will have to do without the star of the team Neymar who is out of the World Cup after a back injury sustained in the quarter-final game against Colombia. Neymar has single-handedly carried the Brazilian team. It doesn’t help that Thiago Silva is also out due to suspension. Without Neymar, the other Brazilian forwards; Jo, Hulk and Fred have to perform against Germany if they want to proceed to the finals. The home ground advantage and flare might work for Brazil, but they have to break the efficient and organized Germans.
Touted as the favorites of the tournament by some, Germany have shown why they are serious contenders having defeated the French 1-0. The German forwards are fast and precise, which will be a problem for the Brazilian defense. Die Mannschaft are comfortable at the back. It takes a bit of brilliance to go though the back four and star keeper Nuer. However, predictability may be the down fall of Ze Germans against Brazil.
Argentina can count on mercurial star forward Messi to deliver. Messi has been instrumental in unlocking solid defenses, either by providing assists or scoring superb match-winning goals. Argentina will however be without De Maria who has a thigh injury. Argentina’s main strength is keeping possession but they have a poor defensive record. Netherlands will be their toughest opposition yet.
Under manager Louis Van Gaal, Netherlands have shown hunger and determination in winning games especially against Mexico and Costa Rica. The energy and pace of Robben will be cause for concern for Argentina. Threats will also come from Van Persie, if he can beat the off side trap. Wesley Sneijder’s shots could be potentially dangerous but the Dutch will have to come up with a strategy to contain Messi.