Loew: Referee must punish 'robust' Brazil

Be vigilant, ref.

The current Brazil team bear little resemblance to their artistic sides of the past and Germany coach Joachim Loew hopes the referee for Wednesday morning's (Singapore time) semi-final takes a tough stance against any attempts to disrupt the flow of the game.

The referee appointed to handle the clash is Marco Rodriguez, the Mexican referee who officiated in the match that saw Uruguay striker Luis Suarez bite Italian Giorgio Chiellini.

"I watched the Brazil-Colombia match and there were countless fouls by both teams, fouls where players just jumped into someone else's back to disrupt play," Loew (below) said.

"These weren't players going after the ball in battles for possession. They were simply trying to prevent match play."

Brazil committed 31 fouls against Colombia in a bruising quarter-final last Saturday.

Referee Carlos Velasco of Spain did not issue his first yellow card until the second half, a point when 41 fouls had been committed by both teams.

Colombia's James Rodriguez, the tournament's top scorer with six goals, was subjected to rough treatment from Brazil's midfielders, while the hosts lost Neymar for the remainder of the World Cup after he was fouled from behind and suffered a fractured vertebra.

German players have committed 57 fouls and received four yellow cards in their five matches, while Brazil have committed 96 fouls with 10 yellow cards.

"There's precious little left of that traditional Brazilian style of soccer, that artistic style of playing that we all know so well," Loew said at his team's base camp in north-eastern Brazil on the Atlantic coast.

"For sure, Brazil still have good technical players. But they're playing more robustly than any other team here and they have been trying to break up their opponent's attack that way.

"At the end of the day, it's up to the referee to come up with the correct punishment."

Loew added that even if the match becomes overly physical, Germany can take care of themselves. 

"This tournament has shown that no team have been able to play with great, brilliant, attacking football because there has been so much physical destructiveness set against that," he said.

"Beautiful soccer by itself won't be enough to win here. We need to have the right dedication."

German star Bastian Schweinsteiger echoed his coach's sentiments that the referee must pay close attention to tough-tackling Brazil.

"I am all for hard, clean challenges, but there were one or two tackles which were over the limit," said Schweinsteiger after watching Brazil's win over Colombia.

"The Brazilians here aren't the magicians of old, the team have changed and so has their playing style.

"Hard challenges are definitely part of their game, it's something we have to be careful of and the referee too." - Reuters.

World Cup