CHICAGO --On Tuesday, we will see the first of the two semi-final FIFA 2014 World Cup games take place. The host nation Brazil will face one of the best teams in the world, Germany. Brazil defeated the men from the Bundesrepublik Deutschland 2-0 in their only World Cup meeting in 2002.
Germany is a slight favorite when these two nations meet at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte at 3 p.m. CST. First, Brazil will be without its superstar striker, Neymar. He may have suffered a career-ending injury in the quarterfinals, a fractured vertebra in his back. Secondly, Thiago Silva, one of Brazil's greatest offensive defenders will sit out this one because of an accumulation of yellow cards. Germany's Thomas Mueller spearheads a potent technical offensive attack. I wonder if Coach Joachim Loew will bring Miroslav Klose in off the bench in the final 15 minutes as is his wont during this tournament. And I expect Mesut Ozil to play like a man possessed of winning a championship. Defender Jerome Boatang is going to have to watch his temper because he sure does not want to get another yellow card and be out of the final if Germany wins. And then there is my favorite, the great keeper of the goal, Manuel Neuer. In four games he has given up just three goals, while his mates have banged home 10. Marco Rodriguez of Mexico is the lead referee. So it's clear, I'm sticking with Germany, in a hostile environment to beat Brazil even if they have Fred, Hulk and Oscar left.
In game two on Wednesday, Argentina will face the Netherlands - another South American nation facing another perennial European power. Will this be two European nations facing each other in the final on Sunday afternoon from Maracana? I'd like to pick the Dutch, but after Brazil gets beat by Germany on Tuesday, Argentina and their great one, Lionel Messi, will pick up the slack and advance to the finals. I'll have more on that game after Tuesday's Brazil-Germany match up.
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Since joining ABC7 in 1982, Jim Rose has become a major force in Chicago sports broadcasting. He currently serves as sports anchor/reporter for ABC7 News in Chicago's top-rated 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts. He is an avid fan of the World Cup! Learn more about Jim