To be a champion one must travel a road wrought with peril, adversity and obstacles. Brazil will try to take the next step on their road to the championship on Tuesday when they face their most difficult challenge yet in Germany.

Life without Neymar begins for the host nation when they take the pitch without the services of their leading scorer as well as their captain and defensive anchor, Thiago Silva.

Now it is up to the remaining 21 men on the Brazilian roster to overcome their tribulations and move on to the World Cup Final on Sunday. Although it is has yet to be seen if the players will be able to do so, their Coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, believes they can:

“This match we’ll be playing not just or ourselves but for our country, for everything we’ve ever dreamed of, but also for Neymar and everything he’s done for us. Within our group, we’ve accept that. We’ve left our sad phase behind and we’re focusing on other things.”

Scolari may be the perfect man for the task of beating Germany in the semifinal. In the two countries only other meeting at the World Cup in 2002, Brazil beat Germany in the Final 2-0 behind Ronaldo, when Scolari was the coach of Brazil. It also marks the last time Brazil hoisted the cup.

In Neymar’s stead, Scolari is expected to choose between Willian, Bernard, Oscar and Hernanes to move Brazil’s offensive attack forward. Defensively, his choice to replace Silva is not only easier, but ideal. Bayern Munich’s Dante, who is very familiar with Germany’s players and style of play, should be manning the backfield.

With David Luiz next to Dante, Brazil’s defense should be up to task. It will be the likes of Hulk, Fred, and Oscar to see if Brazil’s offense is capable of scoring without Neymar.

The hosts will most certainly have the fans as a 12th man on their side, and arguably the pressure has lifted for Brazil who would not be blamed, but cheered for their effort if they fell short without Neymar.

Brazil will have to contain the German midfield which has been excellent thus far in the tournament. Led by Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira in the middle and Thomas Mueller and Miroslave Klose up front, Germany has kept a clean sheet in two of their last three games, conceding only one goal in the final minutes over extra time to Algeria after the outcome of the match was no longer in doubt.

Brazil can win this match. They are undefeated in their last six semifinal matches and even with Neymar in their quarterfinal match against Colombia; both goals were scored by defenseman while Brazil’s defense was stellar. If they are able to repeat a similar performance against Germany, they will advance.

As much as I like Brazil to win it for Neymar in this match, I predicted a Germany vs. Argentina final before the World Cup began and what sort of prognosticator would I be if I changed course now?

My Prediction: 1-0 Germany

Betting Lines Courtesy of

Brazil: Pick Em’ (-115)   //   +165 Moneyline
Germany: Pick Em’ (-105)   //   +170 Moneyline
Draw: +225