Can Brazil repeat 1962 to claim World Cup?

The Rio Report

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Brazil have won a World Cup after losing their best player and they will be looking to the memory of 1962, when Pele was injured against Czechoslovakia, as an omen to get them over the loss of injured talisman Neymar.

Pele tore a thigh muscle midway through the first half of the Brazil's second game in Chile, a 0-0 draw with the Czechs. His replacement was a 22-year-old called Amarildo - nicknamed 'The Possessed' - who scored both goals in the 2-1 win over Spain in their next match and another in the final.

Garrincha was another who took up the slack, scoring four goals in the next three games as Brazil beat England, Chile and Czechoslovakia again to win their second World Cup in a row.

"In the 1962 World Cup, we lost Pele," Carlos Alberto Torres, captain of the great 1970 side, told Sportv.

"The team then released Amarildo on the world, a player who even today is remembered very fondly, and who helped Brazil win their second World Cup," he said, adding that Garrincha also stepped up when Pele was ruled out.

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Brazil's national football team poses for a group shot, 17 June 1962, in Santiago. Brazil beat Czechoslovakia in the 1962 World Cup soccer final 3-1

"Maybe someone will wake up and become the Garrincha of 1962."

Bastian Schweinsteiger said he was saddened Neymar will not feature in their semi-final but believed the hosts may play above themselves with the whole nation behind them.

He added Germany were looking forward to a classic game on Tuesday against Brazil, who won the 2002 World Cup final in the only previous clash between the pair at a major tournament. Schweinsteiger only wished it could have been the final.

"We're all feeling deeply saddened that he won't be able to play," the midfielder said of forward Neymar, who was ruled out of the rest of the World Cup after suffering a back injury in Friday's 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia.

"It's always best when the greatest players are on the pitch for the great matches. I think his team mates are going to rally around even more now with him out, and they'll want to win the World Cup for him. They'll derive strength from that."

Schweinsteiger, who has played an important role for his coach Joachim Loew as a leader on the pitch, said Brazil have plenty of great players but Germany are ready for the hosts.

"The mood on our team is very good and focused," he told a news conference near Germany's training camp on the Atlantic ocean in northeastern Brazil. "We want to win."

Brazil, Germany's first South American opponents at this World Cup, will be difficult to beat, he said.

What positives can Brazil draw from Neymar loss?

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s footballing philosophy is firmly rooted in the ethos of the team. It has at times led to criticism back home in Brazil – take for example his second stint at Gremio where he captured six trophies in only three years but was criticised for his team’s pragmatic non-Brazilian style of football. Furthermore, while his 2002 vintage Brazil team had Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, that World Cup winning side was built on solid foundations. It may appear completely counter-intuitive but the loss of Neymar may actually benefit Brazil as a team.

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It can be to a team’s detriment to have one stand-out star player who is afforded almost reverential treatment by his teammates, as it can subconsciously harbour a lack of responsibility in the rest of the team. Shorn of their star man, the rest of this Brazil team may lift their collective game. Additionally, the fact Neymar has been ruled out may reduce the excruciating levels of pressure they have been under.

Can Loew survive if Germany fail to win the World Cup?

While one final and two semi-final appearances at their last three international tournaments may read as perfectly respectable to the outside observer, there is a sense that the pressure is beginning to build on Joachim Loew. Tired and laboured clichés are such for a reason. Germany are perennial winners so eight years of ‘failure’ would not sit well with Die Mannschaft’s fans and it would be difficult to see the former FK Austria Wien coach continuing as Germany manager if they fail to secure some silverware.

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While the hosts may hope that losing their star man will galvanise their side, it would be looked upon as an opportunity missed if Germany fail to progress. Neymar’s injury has only intensified the pressure on Loew. Losing is not an option. There remains a suspicion that, while Germany are blessed with an abundance of cultured midfield talent, they are a little lacking up front. Miroslav Klose is their only option up front, which leaves them shockingly short up front. It appears that it is plan A, or, well, plan A. That lack of flexibility could cost Loew his job.

Key stats:

- Remarkably, for two perennial powerhouses who have won eight World Cups between them, this is only the second time Brazil and Germany have met in this competition. In their previous game, Brazil won the 2002 final 2-0 thanks to two goals from Ronaldo.

- Germany and Brazil are the joint third highest tournament scorers, with 10 each. They follow Colombia and the Netherlands on 12 goals each. Germany have scored eight goals from open play and two from set-pieces. Brazil have scored seven from open play and three from set-pieces.

- Brazil are aiming for a sixth title after earning that record fifth in 2002, while Germany are hopeful of a fourth following a 24-year gap since their last World Cup trophy.

- Germany's Thomas Mueller and Brazil's Neymar are joint second in the tournament top scorers' chart, on four goals each along with Argentina's Lionel Messi

- Germany's Philipp Lahm is the best passer of the tournament, with 408 passes completed with a success rate of 86.6 percent.

- Brazil won the World Cup in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002

- Germany won the World Cup in 1954, 1974 and 1990

Previous meetings:

- The teams have played each other 21 times, with Brazil winning 12, Germany four, and five draws. In all those games, Brazil have scored 39 goals, Germany 24.

World Cup meetings:

- Their one previous meeting was in Yokohama, Japan, in the World Cup final on June 30, 2002. Brazil won 2-0.

Confederations Cup meetings:

- Brazil have beaten Germany twice in the Confederations Cup, 3-2 in Nuremberg, Germany in 2005 and 4-0 in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1999.

Reuters/Eurosport

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