BELO HORIZONTE // The tournament ending injury to Brazil star Neymar and Thiago Silva’s suspension only complicates matters for Germany, coach Joachim Loew said on the eve of today’s semi-final against the hosts.
The 22-year-old Neymar fractured a vertebra in Brazil’s quarter-final win over Colombia, and captain Silva will miss the semi-final at Belo Horizonte against Germany through suspension.
Loew said Brazil has enough talent to compensate for the loss of key players, and their absence could in fact boost the hosts.
“Setbacks often set free additional forces,” Loew told the German football federation’s website.
“Nobody should believe that our task is made easier by the loss of Neymar, quite the opposite – and Thiago Silva’s suspension shows the depth of the Selecao’s squad.
“[Brazil coach] Felipe Scolari can now use a player like [Bayern Munich centre-back] Dante, so I can’t see there being a loss of quality.”
Loew echoed the sentiments of captain Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger in expressing regret that the Germans will not face Neymar in particular.
“I’m really very sorry for Neymar. He is a great footballer, it’s such bitter news and bad luck for the nation and the team that he’s out now,” Loew said.
“I hope he will be back playing as soon as possible and that he deals positively with the set back.
“At a World Cup, you want to see the best players, and the squad want to measure themselves against the best.
“It’s unfortunate for the Brazilians that they are without two of their best players, but they will be able to compensate.”
Meanwhile, Loew and Schweinsteiger want referee Marco Rodriguez to pay close attention to Brazil’s tough tackling on Tuesday.
The Mexican referee, who officiated the match in which Uruguay striker Luis Suarez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, has been appointed to handle the semi-final at Belo Horizonte.
Robust challenges from the hosts marked Friday’s quarter-final win over Colombia, and Schweinsteiger does not want a repeat.
Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez, in particular, was dealt some rough treatment in Brazil’s 2-1 victory.
Only two Brazil players – Silva and goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who conceded a penalty – were booked by Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo despite Brazil’s 31 fouls against Colombia.
“I am all for hard, clean challenges, but there were one or two tackles which were over the limit,” said Schweinsteiger after watching Brazil’s win. “The Brazilians here aren’t the magicians of old. The team has changed and so has their playing style.
“Hard challenges are definitely a part of their game. It’s something we have to be careful of and the referee, too.”
Loew echoed Schweinsteiger’s sentiments.
“We were flying home when the Colombia game was on, so I didn’t see much of the game, but there were a few hard fouls in what I did see,” said the 54 year old. “The Brazilians have technically good players, but they are also very robust and it’s something the referee must pay close attention to.”
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