Brazil vs Germany, the semifinals of the 20104 FIFA World Cup in Belo Horizonte, would have been an even contest, with odds tilted just that little bit towards the former owing to them being the hosts, had it not been for a knee in the back by Juan Zuniga which ended Neymar's tournament in the quarterfinals stage.
Where to Watch Live
Get the story on Brazil and HERE
Get the report HERE
The semifinal is set for a 5 pm local time (1.30 am IST, 9 pm BST, 4 pm ET) start, with live telecast on Sony Six in India. The match can also be watched via live streaming online in India HERE. The semi can be live streamed by viewers in Germany HERE or HERE while viewers in Brazil can live stream the action online HERE. Viewers in the US can catch the action on ESPN and ABC, with the option to live stream the game HERE or HERE. UK viewers can catch the action in BBC and ITV while the matches can also be live streamed HERE or HERE. Catch the game in Australia HERE, while South Africa viewers can do so HERE. Viewers in Africa can catch the action HERE, while audience in the Middle East and North Africa can live stream the match HERE.
Now, the Germans go into the semis as the favoured side, with Brazil, who will also be without their skipper Thiago Silva, looking to conjure up some stardust for this most important of penultimate steps towards ultimate glory.
Try as they might Brazil and their fans will find it difficult to move on from the Neymar tragedy, but there will also be hope the team use the disappointment as a motivation to put in their best performance at this World Cup against as-formidable-as-they-come opponents.
"Neymar has left us and has left a lot of himself with us, and he's taken a lot of us with him," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said on Monday. "We've left behind that phase of being sad. We've accepted he won't be with us anymore. The team will miss the way he plays, the happiness.
"I'm sure that tomorrow they will play for Neymar, but also for themselves and, above all, for the goal of the whole group -- to qualify for the final. He has done his share, now it's up to us, myself, Thiago, the others and all the Brazilian people. This is the match where we are playing for everything we dreamed of, for each and every one of us, and for Neymar."
Getting inspired by the loss of your talisman is one thing, but turning that into a performance worthy of beating one of the strongest teams in the tournament is something completely different. At the end of the day, reality is, Brazil are a much weaker team without Neymar, with that weakness only increasing with the loss of Silva for this semifinal as well.
Brazil depend on Neymar to spark their forward play – almost everything good about Brazil in the final third comes through him, and it will be up to the rest of the forward-thinking players to step up to the plate in their best player's absence.
If the likes of Hulk, Fred, Oscar and Willian can do that will be known at the end of the final whistle at the Estadio Mineirao, and what will also be evident at the end of the match is if Brazil use their spoiling tactics, like they did so controversially against Colombia, against Germany as well.
Fernandinho was the primary hatchet man for Brazil in the quarterfinal against their South American rivals, taking out James Rodriguez time and again, while looking to disrupt the opponent's play. Neymar also bore the brunt of a few challenges, and that perhaps did take away from the fact that Brazil were probably the rougher of the two sides in the quarterfinal.
Germany, though, are a different prospect, and it is unlikely that this perfectly run machine of players will be too bothered by a little physicality, even if several of their playmakers are diminutive in nature.
"I hope the referee tomorrow, Mr. Rodríguez from Mexico, will clamp down on the kind of things we saw last Friday," Germany coach Joachim Low said. "That physical energy in the match against Colombia went beyond the limits one would expect from a game in Europe. When I saw that match, well, in Europe, 22 players wouldn't have ended that match on the pitch.
"There were brutal fouls, people blocking opponents off however they could. Colombia against Brazil was a real fight with numerous fouls from both sides -- not just the one foul against Neymar but many others as well. You saw how many fouls there were from behind which were really dangerous for the players -- slide tackles from behind and from the side. You have to protect the players when you're a referee. That's something that's important for everyone working in football. You have to protect the attackers. They have been roughed up in a very bad way. I don't think it was a good thing that we saw there."
Marco Rodriguez is the same referee who missed the infamous Luis Suarez bite incident on Giorgio Chiellini in the Uruguay vs Italy match, and there will be enough pressure on the official already. How he controls the flow of the game will eventually decide the manner in which the match progresses, and, hopefully, for the fans sake, the referee has a quiet game, with little incidents for him to worry about.
Germany, though, do have a few things to be concerned about, with their performances not exactly jaw dropping in this tournament. The 4-3-3 formation applied by Low in this World Cup has stifled Germany's creativity a little bit, and if the Europeans stumble at the semifinal hurdle again, then the coach will be criticised.
Germany have reached the semifinals of the last three World Cups playing some expansive football, especially the last two, and having to bow out in the final four for the third consecutive time will be a bitter pill to swallow, considering the fact they have forsaken eye-catching football for results in Brazil.
"Brazil are the favourites in this semifinal, I see it like that," Low said on Monday. "Such a semifinal is a special thing, it is a fight of the continents. They play with 200 million behind them, not only with fans in the stadium.
"We saw this energy here at last year's Confederations Cup but we are confident we know what we can do and if we do it tomorrow our chances are not small either."
Team news: Brazil: Willian is expected to take Neymar's place in the starting lineup, but Scolari could also decide to go with a 4-3-3 formation by playing Luiz Gustavo, who returns from suspension, Fernandinho and Paulinho in the middle of the park. Bayern Munich's Dante, who will know plenty about the German side, should take Silva's pace at the heart of the defence alongside stand-in captain David Luiz.
Germany: Low does not have any new injury concerns, and it remains to be seen if Per Mertesacker returns to the starting lineup after missing the 1-0 quarterfinal win over France. There have been calls for Mesut Ozil to be dropped, but it is unlikely.
Key men: Brazil: Luiz has been inspirational for the hosts at this World Cup and the defender will need to produce a defensive masterclass to stop Germany from scoring, while also maybe chipping in with a goal at the other end.
Germany: Thomas Muller hasn't scored in knockout rounds so far and the forward will be keen to find the back of the net in this most intriguing of semifinals. Muller will hope to be on the end of one of those brilliant passes from playmaker Ozil, who needs a good game to silence the naysayers.
Expected lineups: Brazil: Cesar; Maicon; Luiz, Dante, Marcelo; Fernandinho, Gustavo; Hulk, Oscar, Willian; Fred.
Germany: Neuer; Lahm, Boateng, Hummels, Howedes; Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Kroos; Ozil, Muller, Gotze.
Prediction: 2-1 to Germany after extra time