IT’S about time some footballing justice is dealt out at the World Cup – and that means Germany knocking out the hosts in tonight’s semi-final.
Brazil have been nothing more than average, relying far too much on the excellent Neymar, who alongside defensive lynchpin Thiago Silva will be missing from the showpiece in Belo Horizonte.
They have also been treated far too leniently by the officials – and how Fernandinho is still available for selection after his hatchet job on Colombia’s James Rodriguez in the quarter-final beggars belief.
A strong referee is needed but, alas, the man picked by those boffins at FIFA is none other than Mexico’s Marco Rodriguez, the man who failed to spot Luis Suarez lunching on Giorgio Chiellini earlier in the tournament.
Ironically, Rodriguez is known as “Dracula” back in Mexico for his Transylvanian appearance, but the lack of bite from referees against Brazil in this tournament has been nothing short of laughable.
Germany won’t need any favours. They simply need to do to Brazil what they did to France last time out, and bore them to death. And now that Joachim Low has relented on playing Phillip Lahm at full-back – giving a modicum of pace to a dreadfully slow back four – his side have lost their Achilles heel.
Without Neymar Brazil will surely be pinning their hopes on midfield for goals. I have often looked more likely to score in this World Cup than Fred or Hulk.
If Oscar plays more like he did in the opening couple of group games the Selecao might have a chance. But the Chelsea youngster hasn’t shown up for the last 180 minutes of football against Chile or Colombia, so I won’t be holding my breath.
Germany have got to be a bit more ruthless than they were against France. They choked the life out of a creative midfield that day but when they counter, they will surely need to start taking more chances to reach the final.
Thomas Muller has looked their best source of goals and it would be good to see him played through the middle, at the expense of Miroslav Klose.
If there is a better midfield five than Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze and Mesut Ozil anywhere in the world, I’d like to see it. Muller represents the German’s best chance at converting the chances they create – and I thought he was a bit marginalised against the French playing out wide.
I don’t think it will be a free-flowing game. Semi-finals seldom are. But I fear we might be going all the way to penalties.
As Gary Lineker once remarked: “Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”
And this time, I hope he’s right.
Ilesy’s TV heaven
Putting Alan Shearer and Ruud Gullit next to each other as BBC pundits was a master-stroke. Fair play to the Dutchman – who was famously sacked after dropping Shearer at Newcastle – for taking the banter well.
Ilesy’s TV hell
Three words to strike fear into the hearts of any football fan this World Cup... “and Clarke Carlisle.” Tim Cahill’s magnificent volley for Australia against the Netherlands will forever be tainted by the co-commentator using the phrase: “Oh my days.”