"With Neymar out and Thiago Silva likely to be banned I don’t fancy Brazil," asserted Paul Merson in his Sky Sports prediction column as he sided with Germany to succeed in the semifinal clash on Tuesday evening between the two behemoths of international football.
Brazil are "not good enough" and "carry too many players", said Merson in a statement that will ring even truer tomorrow evening as the Selecao are without arguably their top two players in centre back and captain Thiago Silva and lethal forward and poster-boy Neymar.
The suspension of Silva is compounded further by whom exactly replaces him. Former Chelsea player David Luiz will likely deputise as skipper, while Bayern Munich stopper Dante could be drafted in to the Belo Horizonte inferno - a player Merson does not rate when he competes against the elite.
"Thiago Silva will be a massive miss in this game because it leaves David Luiz and probably Dante, who everyone goes on about but isn’t really that good, at centre-half. Dante plays week after week in Germany no-one has a go at him, but when he came up against Real Madrid in the Champions League, he didn’t know what day it was.
"He is nowhere near as good as Thiago Silva and all the German players will know his weaknesses and how to get at him, so him and David Luiz at the back? Germany will be licking their lips."
Merson continued: "Germany will win this, with Thomas Muller being key. He didn’t play up front against France with Miroslav Klose coming in but I think he'll play as a striker here because he has great movement and loves running off the ball.
"That’s the sort of stuff that can kill the Brazilians because they do fall asleep a little bit."