On the face of it, this matchup is brilliant. It’s art versus machinery, creativity versus meticulousness, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious versus type A.
…or is it.
For the last 5 years I’ve dubbed Germany as the New Brazil. Oh they’re still organized (erm, German) but they’re also far more inventive than they’ve ever been. The quality of player Germany are now developing resemble a Mercedes who’s been to art school. They’re lean, quick, skillful players with the creativity to quickly link passes, at times, breathtakingly. Their samba might not be quite as fluid, naturally, but they know all the steps.
However at this World Cup, due to numerous injuries and underperforming stars, they’ve had to rely on organization, the timely introduction of super subs, and a bit of luck. I commend German boss Joachim Löw for building a team that can shape-shift its way to positive results but they’ll need consistent quality to beat this Brazil. Even without Neymar.
Apart from the banning of thong bikinis, Brazil are dealing with the two worst losses the nation could’ve imagined in Thiago Silva and Neymar. But even without these players Brazil is still Brazil and Brazil is still in Brazil. The task of defeating them may have been made easier, but only in the same way it’s “easier” to run from a cheetah who has a sprained ankle.
The difference in this match will come from what either coach is prepared to do. Replacing Neymar won’t be easy, but Big Phil Scolari (best Soprano-y non-Soprano name ever) still has a bench full of Brazilian footballers with which to choose from. Likewise Joachim Löw has a talented bunch to replace the creativity of the at-home Marco Reus and his malfunctioning replacement, Mesüt Ozil.
The ambitions of either team will be immediately revealed upon the naming of starting lineups. Should both coaches feel the need to win, rather than not lose, we’ll see two Chelsea boys on the pitch from the start. Schürrle and Willian both possess the highest percentage of qualities that their respective teams will be missing. Both have more than enough pace to annoy their opposition’s defense and the creativity to encourage runs from teammates.
Both sets of teammates could use all the encouragement they can get. Dealing with injury and inconsistent performances can unsettle a team. Schürrle and Willian are the team equivalent of an adrenaline shot — let’s just hope neither manager wastes as much time administering it as Vincent Vega.