Brazil have played some of the least enjoyable football at this World Cup, and if the goal had been to undermine a century's worth of beautiful game cliches you could say they'd done a brilliant job. They've also done a pretty good job of winning, what with making it to the semi-finals. You can quibble about underwhelming midfield selections and cynical tactics and a lack of flair, but Phil Scolari has Brazil grinding out results in the highest of high pressure environments, and the expectation is for more of the same today—especially with Neymar missing through injury.
The Germans, meanwhile, set the bar high by demolishing Portugal in their opener, but it's only been downhill from there. Yet they too find themselves in the semi-finals today despite that each match has seemed a small step in the wrong direction. They may finally have figured out that the best place to play Philipp Lahm, one of the best fullbacks in the world, is at fullback, though. So there's always the chance of one of the pre-tournament favourites rediscovering their best form just in time to push their way into a final that will see whoever wins today favoured over the winner from tomorrow's Netherlands-Argentina match.
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