The host nation are without their star man for the rest of the tournament through injury and will need a new source of inspiration if they are to make the finalBrazil begin life without Neymar at this World Cup as they face Germany in Tuesday’s semi-final at the Estadio Mineirao.
The Barcelona forward suffered a fractured vertebra following a clash with Jose Zuniga in Friday’s 2-1 win over Colombia and was ruled out of the rest of the competition by doctors after the match in Fortaleza.
Reports in the Brazilian media claimed on Sunday that the 22-year-old could feature if Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side make the final, but his participation in this tournament remains unlikely and the former Santos man is definitely sidelined for the game against Germany.
In the absence of Neymar, Scolari is set to choose between Willian, Bernard, Oscar and Hernanes to fill in for team’s most famous player.
Captain Thiago Silva is also out after picking up a second yellow card in this competition against Colombia and the Paris Saint-Germain defender will be replaced by Bayern Munich’s Dante for the clash with Germany.
Brazil and Germany have only met once before at a World Cup and that was in the 2002 final when the Selecao won 2-0.
There are no survivors from either side in the two squads this time around, but Scolari was the coach in his first spell as Brazil boss.
Like Scolari, who also made the last four with Portugal in 2006, Germany coach Joachim Low is involved in a World Cup semi-final for the third time, having lost out to winners Spain in 2010 and also assisted former boss Jurgen Klinsmann as the Mannschaft were beaten by Italy at home in 2006.
Shkodran Mustafi is sidelined for the rest of the tournament after picking up a thigh injury in the last 16 against Algeria, while Per Mertesacker has been laid low with flu, which affected a total of seven Germany players.
Germany have yet to play in Belo Horizonte at this World Cup, but Brazil – unbeaten at home since a 1-0 defeat to Paraguay in 2002 – return to the scene of last week’s win on penalties against Chile in the last 16.