6 reasons why Germany will advance

Germany celebrate (Twitter)
Germany celebrate (Twitter)
Cape Town - Brazil against Germany is the ultimately soccer derby but only one side will march victoriously on to the Maracana.

When the hosts walk out onto the pitch of the Estadio Mineirão tonight, they carry the weight of a nation on their shoulders but instead of their next match being on Sunday evening it will be on Saturday as the Germans will prevail tonight.

Here are the six reasons why Germany will win:

1. Neymar is out

Brazil's leading goal scorer of the Soccer World, Neymar, will play no further part after suffering a tournament ending challenge from Juan Zuniga in the quarter-finals.

Neymar's replacement in the side will most likely be Willian, a very good player but not in the same league as Neymar.

Without Neymar, it is unclear from where the goals will come from...Fred? Jo? 

2. Thiago Silva is suspended

Silva is a strange character. Heavily criticised for sitting alone, crying and begging not to take a penalty in the Chile match, the captain of the Selecao picked up probably the most needless yellow card in the match against Colombia.

Dante is his likely replacement. That leaves Brazil with two "defenders" who can't defend.

3. Bookies are backing Brazil (to be eliminated)

Most bookmakers have crunched their numbers and have installed Germany as ever so slight favourites.

While I don't believe either side will run away with proceedings, I do think the bookmakers are onto something.

4. Germany seek revenge

Brazil and Germany have played more World Cup matches than any other side (102 and 104 respectively), but have only met once before at the tournament. That was the 2002 final where Brazil triumphed 2-0.

Honours are even in the three subsequent meetings.

The sides drew 1-1 in a friendly in 2004, Brazil won 3-2 in a Confederations Cup semi-final in 2005 and Germany recorded a 3-2 victory in a friendly in 2011. All those matches were on German soil.

5. The influence of Pep Guardiola

Bayern Munich will have no fewer than seven players in the German starting XI tonight and the influence of the Pep Guardiola is plain to see.

Germany have played most matches without a designated striker and have scored as many goals as Brazil have. To be fair, playing Fred is like playing with 10 men so no clear advantage there.

Germany have scored each of their 10 SWC goals from inside the box while passing the ball with 80% completion rate. A full 10% better than their hosts this evening. 

Germany are playing the type of soccer that has made first Barcelona and now Bayern Munich very difficult to beat.

6. Manuel Neuer is hard to beat

Manuel Neuer is very very hard to beat.
For all the heroics of Keylor Navas, Tim Howard and even Tim Krul, my choice for keeper of the tournament is still Manuel Neuer.

He made two brilliant saves against France and countless others in the tournament so far. 

Without Neymar, Brazil will need a minor miracle if they are to find the back of the net tonight.

Follow Sport24's LIVE and interactive match updates for the semi-final between Brazil and Germany.

The match kicks off at 22:00 SA time.
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