The mind games have begun.
Germany coach Joachim Loew used srongly formed sentences to caution his players on the brutal tackling strategies of Brazil as manifested in recent games. He also appealed to officials to be on the lookout for such dirty tricks.
Selecao and the Germans figure in one of the two remaining semi-final matches that will determine the final contenders for the World Cup. The game is slated for Tuesday at Belo Horizonte with Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez tapped to head the officiating of the match.
Loew is pinpointing the recent match between Colombia and Brazil which was highlighted by tackling from both sides which can be categorized as "brutal and almost over the limit."
''My hope, or what I expect, is that the referee Rodriguez keeps an eye on these things,'' Loew said as per Yahoo! Sports. ''In Europe there would not be 22 players on the pitch at the end. There were many hard fouls from behind, from the side. You have to see that this brutal and robust physical side is stopped because then you won't have a Neymar, Messi ... but other players who destroy the game.''
Ironically, it was Neymar, Brazil's most bankable football star to come down with a serious injury to the vertebrae after a questionable tackle. He will be out for the rest of the tournament. While the German coach expressed regret on the exclusion of Neymar, he believes that his absence will only fuel the Brazilian squad. He expects other Selecao players to pick up the slack particularly Dante, who he believes will not let the host country down.
Center back Dante is expected to replace Thiago Silva, the team's captain and defender due to a suspension. The replacement player is familiar with his opponents as he plays for Bayern Munich and is a teammate of many players in Germany's roster.
Loew is wary that the emotional support of Neymar and their captain's absence plus the boost of more than 200 million fans will fuel the spirits of Brazil. He is cautioning his team to play their own game and not to be roped in by the euphoria of the home crowd.
''We are confident and if we manage to play to our abilities, our hopes of reaching the final are not all that bad,'' Loew said.
Three-time world champion Germany is one of the most consistent teams in the World Cup having played in the last four semi-final rounds. It is hoping to register its first finals appearance since 2002 when it also bowed down to Brazil in the only previous game both nations have played in the tournament.