Two historic greats of international football square off at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte later today, Tuesday, in the first of the World Cup's semifinal fixtures but the manager of one of the participants - Germany - has warned that the spectacle against host nation Brazil could be tarred unless the referee, Marco Antonio Rodriguez of Mexico, is tough on dangerous play.
|Total yellow cards||Games played|
Luiz Felipe Scolari's Selecao have, on average, been collectively issued two yellow cards for each of their five World Cup games to date which is a stark contrast to the 0.80 yellow per match average for Low's Germany.
Brazil are without instrumental defender and captain Thiago Silva, heralded the best in his position by Rio Ferdinand, through suspension and will be unable to select poster-boy Neymar because the Barcelona attacker is injured with a fractured L3 vertebrae after Juan Zuniga collided into him from behind.
Low believes there could be more marquee withdrawals due to injury unless Rodriguez takes command of the match from the off.
"That physical energy in the match against Colombia went beyond the limits in Europe," asserted Low. "When I saw that match… in Europe, 22 players wouldn't have ended that match. There were brutal fouls," he said. "People blocking opponents however they could. It was really exaggerated.
"That's what we saw on the pitch, so I hope these really brutal and crude fouls are stopped, or we won't see players like Lionel Messi, Mesut Ozil or Neymar - we'll just see players who go out to destroy. This is a World Cup that's full of dynamism and physical force, but I've seen matches where the limits have been surpassed.
"Colombia against Brazil was a real fight with numerous fouls from both sides, not just the one foul against Neymar, but many others as well."
|Nation||Opponent||Pos||Fouls||Dangerous Play||Yellow Card||Mins|
|Juan Guillermo Cuadrado||Colombia||Brazil||MF||3||0||0||80|
"The actual playing time was only 38 or 39 minutes, there were so many breaks in play," Low continued. "I don't think players and fans like the match being constantly stopped. Players have been warned what would earn them a yellow or a red card but you saw in the Colombia match many fouls from behind which were really dangerous for the players. You have to protect the players when you're a referee."