Belo Horizonte (Brazil), July 8 IANS | 17 days ago

Germany coach Joachim Loew has lamented the absence of Brazil star Neymar from their World Cup semi-final here Tuesday.


At his pre-match press conference at the Mineirao stadium Monday, Loew wished the 22-year-old a speedy recovery after he suffered a fractured vertebra in Brazil's 2-1 victory over Colombia in Fortaleza.

"Before we talk about ourselves I want to say something about Neymar. We are very sorry that he is injured," Loew said.

"It is something serious for him, for the team and the country. It's a terrible situation. We would love to have seen him on the pitch and I wish a good and speedy recovery. I hope he comes back soon," he added.

Besides the loss of Neymar, Brazil have also been hit by the suspension to Thiago Silva after the Selecao captain picked up a second yellow card against Colombia.

Loew refused to accept his team were favourites against the hosts but expressed confidence at his team's ability to overcome any difficulty.

"A semi-final is always something very special," he said. "It is two continents - Europeans against Americas. There are 200 million fans across the country. It's not just on the pitch. This will unleash the energy on the country."

"It is unique. But regardless of any polls or surveys, we are self-assured and we know what we can deliver. If we can tap into our possibilities I think we have a chance," Loew said.

When asked about Brazil's physicality against Colombia, Loew said he hoped Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez Moreno would be on alert to ensure the game was played in the right spirit.

"We have seen that the World Cup is based on great dynamism, power, physical energy and the great duels," he said.

"We saw in Brazil's last game (against Colombia), that physical energy was beyond the limits we have in Europe. If that happened there, 22 players would not have finished this game. There were some brutal fouls.

"I believe we have to stop this, otherwise we will not have players like Neymar and Messi. Instead we will have other players who will take the field to destroy," he added.

(Posted on 08-07-2014)