6 July 2014 04:26
Former England international Rio Ferdinand said he believes Germany will be too strong for Brazil en route to winning the FIFA World Cup.
Host nation Brazil and Germany will go head-to-head at the Estadion Governador Magalhaes Pinto in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, with a spot in the World Cup final on the line.
Germany advanced to the semi-finals courtesy of a 1-0 win over France on Friday, while Brazil accounted for Colombia 2-1 on the same day – thought it came at a cost.
Neymar suffered a tournament-ending fractured vertebra and captain Thiago Silva picked up his second yellow card of the World Cup that ruled him out of the final-four clash.
Their absence against Germany may be a bridge too far for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men, according to Ferdinand in his column for the Daily Mail.
“Brazil played their best football of the tournament so far in beating Colombia on Friday but I fear the semi-final on Tuesday will be as far as they go,” wrote Ferdinand, who is expected to join Queens Park Rangers ahead of the new Premier League season.
“At this point, and based on all the evidence we’ve seen so far, Germany are now favourites to win this World Cup.
“Germany looked efficient (against France), and I mean that in an admiring way, not a cliched reference to good organisation. Mats Hummels did very well to head the opener and he and Thomas Muller went on to give the two best performances in the team.
“Germany looked completely comfortable, totally in control after taking the lead, squeezing the life out of the game the longer it went on. They exude the kind of calm that comes with experience, and that will be vital from here.
“Brazil did better than in any previous match (against Chile) – but then that’s not saying much. Silva and David Luiz were both excellent but now Brazil will be without Silva and Neymar for the next match and that’s a big blow.”
Ferdinand continued in his belief that Germany – aiming to win their fourth World Cup and first since 1990 – would exploit Brazil’s defensive frailties.
“I’ve written enough times about Brazil’s dodgy defence, which has attacking flair when it needs solidity,” said the 35-year-old.
“This is where they’ll get undone. I believe Germany will win with their runners — Muller, Mesut Ozil and Mario Gotze — finding the spaces behind the full-backs and between Brazil’s defence and midfield. They’ll cause problems, big problems.”