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Fiji Time: 7:00 PM on Wednesday 3 September

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Uphill battle for Brazil

Rashneel Kumar
Wednesday, July 09, 2014

THE war of words has broken on the social sites.

A friend posted that if anyone reminded her of Neymar being out of the World Cup, she would unfriend that person (from Facebook).

Brazil minus Neymar and captain Thiago Silva will surely face an uphill battle against the star-studded Germany in the first semi-final today at 8am.

There has been wide speculation that Brazil will be no match upfront without their poster boy Neymar.

As another ardent Brazil fan, Tex said, Neymar's injury could be a blessing in disguise for the team. He has a point there.

Neymar's unavailability can mean two things for Brazil. It can either inspire or demoralise the side. The Brazilians seem to have overcome the fact that they will miss Neymar and now are determined to win the World Cup for their hero.

So far, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's game plan has centred on Neymar. It was obvious from game one that Neymar was their main weapon upfront. They looked at the 22-year-old to kill the game.

We haven't seen much of how they play with structure while on attack. With Germany and beyond (if they win today), they need this co-ordination. It all depends on who Scolari brings in place of Neymar and how he uses him on the field.

The Brazil versus Germany game will just be the teaser for the epic battle between Netherlands and Argentina tomorrow at 8am. Off the field, the World Cup has seen some fantastic games and goals but perhaps just as notably, some brilliantly funny moments.

Here, Sportsmail looks at the things that got people laughing in Brazil and at home.

Alejandro Sabella's big slip

As Gonzalo Higuain's strike thundered off the top of the crossbar, Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella bizarrely gave the illusion that he was fainting, careering backwards towards the dugout and having to be caught by a member of his backroom staff.

The 59-year-old, closed his eyes, leaned back, and collapsed backwards to produce one of this tournaments most bizarre moments.

Germany's terrible free kick

As four players stood over the ball, it appeared that the Germans had a subtly designed routine in place to surprise Algeria in the round of 16 clash.

However, the scheme (and Thomas Muller) fell flat on its face as the German stumbled and collapsed head-first on to the turf as he attempted to dummy the ball, with teammate then chipping the ball straight to the Algeria defence.

Defender Benedikt Howedes claimed after the match that the stumble was all part of the masterplan: "We practised that free-kick in training. The final chip wasn't quite right". We don't doubt you for a moment, Benedikt

James and the giant grasshopper

It sounds like the sequel to a Roald Dahl novel but there was no happy ending for the brilliant James Rodriguez as the star of this World Cup headed out of the competition despite scoring a penalty against Brazil. His Colombia side were defeated 2-1 in the quarter-final on Friday night despite his late consolation goal, which was most memorable for the giant green insect that perched on his sleeve as he coolly tucked away the spot-kick.

After setting midfield Rottweiler's Fernandinho and Paulinho on to Rodriguez, even Brazil's nipping grasshoppers couldn't prevent the playmaker having a say on this quarter-final.


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