Preview: The 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final

Written by Holly Evans

Where has that month gone?

Where has that month gone? It only seems like yesterday that the excitement of the World Cup was building and we were all gripped by football fever but with what seems like the click of a finger, we have arrived at the semi-finals. 

The four teams that have made it through to battle it out for a place in the final on July 13th are Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Holland – all of which can be seen as favourites to go and win the competition.

Although there are no surprise inclusions on that list, it doesn’t mean to say that these teams haven’t been pushed to their limits by some challenging opposition. Holland had a close call against Costa Rica in the last round and the South American teams have been made to bide their time and choose their moment wisely to pounce on their unsuspecting opposition.

Trying to cope

The first of the semi-finals takes place on July 8th when Brazil take on Germany and it would be more than fair to say that the hosts have a lot of work to do. They will be missing their talisman and top scorer, Neymar who suffered a serious back injury in their win against Colombia and they will also be without captain Thiago Silva, who’s yellow card in the same game means that he is suspended.

These two players have been instrumental for Brazil throughout the tournament and they have relied on them a lot when it hasn’t been going their way so this it’s going to be very interesting to see how they can cope without them because Germany are not a side for the faint-hearted to face.

Germany will feel like they have a point to prove, having been knocked out in the semi-final stages of the last two World Cups, they’re going to want this more than most. They’ve had quite a subdued tournament so far and have kept out of the off-pitch nonsense and done all of their talking on it, which could just play to their advantage.

A kind of magic

The other semi-final is Argentina v Holland on July 9th. It’s been a baffling tournament by the South American’s so far as we are yet to see what they are really capable of as a unit but we have seen the magic that Lionel Messi can create. He has a habit of turning a nothing moment into the moment-of-the-match with a quick move that can turn a game on its head.

It’s a similar sort of problem to the one that Brazil have faced with Neymar but there is a growing sense that this could be the year for Argentina to win their first World Cup since 1990 as Messi’s one man mission has been enough to see them through to this stage of the competition.

However they are facing the losing finalists of 2010 who have a manager who created himself into a psychological genius when he brought Tim Krul on in the 119th minute of the game against Costa Rica to trick them into thinking they could win this when really, the Dutch had it covered.

Tim Krul’s “magic” fingers, that have been scarce in the Premier League, provided to be too much of a force for Costa Rica and they were cruelly denied a spot in these semi-finals. With Louis van Gaal at the helm, it would be plainly wrong to suggest Holland would be too much for Messi.

So, there you have it, two potentially explosive games that could cement this tournament’s place as one of the best there has ever been. Any of these four teams could make it through to the final but it will be the one who can hold their nerve and choose their moments wisely that will do it.

What do you think? Who will win the World Cup? Have your say in the comments section below.