Football

RIO: LOEW'S MEN HAVE EDGE

The absence of Neymar and Thiago Silva will be too much for Brazil to overcome, said former England international Rio Ferdinand.

In his column in the Daily Mail, the former Manchester United defender said Germany are now the World Cup favourites.

Ferdinand (above) said that Germany - aiming to win their fourth World Cup and first since 1990 - would exploit Brazil's defensive frailties.

"I've written enough times about Brazil's dodgy defence, which has attacking flair when it needs solidity," said the 35-year-old.

"This is where they'll get undone. I believe Germany will win with their runners - Thomas Mueller, Mesut Oezil and Mario Goetze - finding the spaces behind the fullbacks and between Brazil's defence and midfield. They'll cause problems, big problems."

Germany, playing in their fourth straight World Cup semi-finals, beat France 1-0 last Friday. And their controlled displays, especially against the French, have Ferdinand purring.

"Brazil played their best football of the tournament so far in beating Colombia on Friday but I fear the semi-final will be as far as they go," wrote Ferdinand.

"At this point, and based on all the evidence we've seen so far, Germany are now favourites to win this World Cup.

EFFICIENT

"Germany looked efficient (against France), and I mean that in an admiring way, not a cliched reference to good organisation.

"Germany looked completely comfortable, totally in control after taking the lead, squeezing the life out of the game the longer it went on. They exude the kind of calm that comes with experience, and that will be vital from here.

"Brazil did better than in any previous match (against Colombia) - but then that's not saying much. Silva and David Luiz were both excellent but now Brazil will be without Silva and Neymar for the next match and that's a big blow."

Ferdinand's view was shared by German great Lothar Matthaeus.

"If you want to become world champion you have to win matches, and that means ugly victories too. In previous World Cups, we have always had those kind of games.

"I expect even more from them against Brazil. The team played a good game against France but the real face of the German team will show itself against Brazil and possibly in the final."

- Wire Services.


(Brazil) will be half the force when they line up against Germany.

— Former Spain striker Raul

World Cup