6 July 2014 19:38
Bastian Schweinsteiger believes the absence of Neymar will make Brazil more united ahead of Tuesday’s FIFA World Cup semi-final.
The Barcelona forward will miss the rest of the tournament after sustaining a fractured vertebra in Friday’s World Cup quarter-final against Colombia.
Neymar has been the host nation’s most influential player, scoring four goals, and much has been made of their reliance on the mercurial 22-year-old.
Germany midfielder Schweinsteiger spoke of his regret that he will not line up against Neymar in a mouth-watering semi-final clash at Estadio Mineirao, but knows his injury may have made Brazil even more determined to lift the trophy on home soil.
“We’re all sad that Neymar can’t play, it’s always better when the opponent has all their best players on the pitch,” he said.
“It’ll bring the (Brazil) team together and they’ll want to win the title for him.
“They have two coaches in (Luiz Felipe) Scolari and (Carlos Alberto) Parreira who have won the title already, they have the home advantage and players with individual class.
“Their coaches have a lot of experience of this kind of situation. It’s an honour and a challenge to play against the hosts, but it have would be better to play Brazil in the final.
“It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, to play the hosts in this football-crazy country, I mean that in a positive sense, is something special.”
Schweinsteiger believes Germany have raised the bar since being beaten by Spain in the semi-final of the World Cup in South Africa four years ago as they attempt to be crowned champions for the first time since 1990.
He added: “The team is once again a step further. Every single player has evolved. The number of good players has also increased.”
And the Bayern Munich man is also confident this will not be his last chance to win the World Cup.
“I”m 29 and can also imagine to still be at the World Cup in 2018,” he added.