Bayern star: Brazil are not the force they once were

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick look ahead to the World Cup semi-final against Brazil.

Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger says that Brazil are not the "magicians on the pitch" that they used to be ahead of their upcoming World Cup semi-final clash.

The host nation have come this far in the tournament by grinding out victories with workman-like performances. Schweinsteiger insists, however, that this Brazil side are still dangerous.

"Brazil nowadays are actually not what they have been," the 29-year-old said. "You would think that they are like magicians on the pitch, but the team has changed.

"They play a different style of football compared to Brazilian national teams in the past. Physical toughness is definitely part of their game and we will have to be prepared for that, and also the referees."

That physicality was on show in the host nation's quarter-final meeting with Colombia. Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari deployed Fernandinho in defensive midfield to break up Colombian attacks, and he did so successfully. There were an extraordinary 54 fouls in the game.

This Brazil side lack the star power of the teams that made successive finals in 1998 and 2002. They will be without two of their biggest names for the semi-final, with captain Thiago Silva suspended and Neymar out with a fractured vertebrae. 

The Barcelona forward will be a huge miss for Brazil, but Germany assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick is concerned that his absence may spur the hosts on.

"It is definitely a loss for Brazil. Neymar is a world-class football player and he has proven that he is able to live up to the enormous expectations," Flick said.

"He played a good World Cup and it is tragic that he is injured now. But I think such things can strengthen the team's spirits. Also, there are 200 million Brazilian fans who will support the team even more now."

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