The setting, the World Cup Semifinal. The stage will be the Estadio Minierao. The contestants are Germany and Brazil. The prize is a chance to compete for the title of being the best team on the entire planet. After almost three long weeks of grueling and intense soccer, four countries, out of the thirty-two that started, remain. July 8th will see two of the great “soccer” nations go head to head for a chance to play at the Maracana on July 13th.

When Germany steps onto the pitch against the hosts, it will be the fourth consecutive time that they have made it to the semifinals. It is a an incredible achievement and a testament to the machinelike consistency of “Die Mannschaft.” Their road to this point was not easy though. Despite coming out top in the “Group of Death” they almost suffered one of the biggest upsets at the hands of Algeria, only to bounce back and narrowly squeeze by a defiant French side. All of that is in the past now though, as revenge for the 2002 World Cup Final is all that is on the minds of the German nation.    

After their drubbing of Portugal in their opening game, many had already concluded that Germany was the team to beat in this year's tournament. Since then, no one has even dared use the term dominant when talking about this group. Yet, they are still in this position. So what does this say about the Germans?

Everyone knows that the German team is littered with talent. But there has been a lack of fluidity in their play. Their defense has been shaky, their passing in the midfield very inconsistent, and their finishing in front of goal (outside of Thomas Mueller) almost non existent. When they step onto the field on Tuesday that is going to have to change.

There is no doubt that Brazil has not looked close to as good as many would have thought either, and the loss of Neymar (injury) and Thiago Silva (yellow card accumulation) only adds to their problems. But this does not mean that this is a Brazil that the Germans should not fear. Jogi Loew’s men need to play much better than they have in any of their recent five games if they want to have a shot at advancing. So what do they need to do?

It is quite obvious that the biggest problem with this squad has to due with their problems in the back third. It is absolutely essential that Loew deploys Philipp Lahm at his regular right back role and puts Sami Khedira into the holding midfielder position. Khedira played well there against France and looks to finally be coming back into form (after missing a majority of the domestic season due to injury). Lahm is without a doubt the best right back in the world, and by putting him there, Loew is not only going to make it harder for the Brazilians to push forward, he is also adding more danger on the German counter attack; as his overlapping runs cause oppositions tons of problems.

In the midfield Kroos needs to step up his game, as his showing against France was less than superb. It would be interesting to see if Loew decides to stick Mueller out on the right/left wing deploying a more natural striker like Klose or Schuerrle (who has looked very good) up top. If it were up to me, I would then bench Oezil and replace him with Goetze (Oezil has looked lackluster at best during this tournament, while Goetze’s cleverness and speed on the ball can cause the Brazilians some problems if the Germans decide to play a counter-attacking style).

Each and every time a preview is written about the German team, it is said that this will be the game in which they wake up and show the world how good they actually are, only for them to disappoint. That being said, I do think that the Germans will play a very good game on Tuesday. If it will be enough or not will depend among other things on how the Brazilian team reacts to their two best players being out.

Some of the tactical as well as the selection decisions made by Loew and his coaching staff have been questionable at best. They have played a high line in times when it has looked like the wrong option. He has brought on and started players when there are others who deserved to be there more. If the Germans want to walk away victors in this one, I believe that it will come down to the decisions that the German coaching staff makes. If Loew is right on his tactics, I think Germany has the better side and wins a close game. If he is wrong, which has been the case recently, Brazil will advance to the Final

The match is set to kickoff at 4:00PM EST at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte. It can be seen on ESPN and in Spanish on Univison. You can Live Stream the match on WatchESPN here and in Spanish here.

My prediction: 2-1 Germany

Betting odds via

Brazil:  Pick Em' (-105)  //      +175 Moneyline        
Germany:  Pick Em' (-115) //     +160 Moneyline
Draw:   +230