Hulk has failed to score in four games, but with Neymar out, his production could prove vital in the World Cup's semifinals. (Source: Getty Images)

How will Brazil and Germany line up in World Cup semifinal?

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With injuries and suspensions impacting Luis Felipe Scolari’s lineup decisions ahead of Brazil’s World Cup semifinal clash with Germany, the Brazilian head coach certainly has a selection headache.

Neymar is out injured for the rest of the tournament, plus captain Thiago Silva to miss out through suspension. Two of Scolari’s key players are missing for Brazil’s toughest test yet.

[ RELATED: Neymar denies comeback reports ]

As for Germany, they are fully fit as Joachim Low’s men continue to grind out wins and get past teams with solid, yet unspectacular performances.

Let’s take a look at how both teams could line up on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.


If you look at this starting XI below, the two missing players are mammoth. However, with Willian coming in for Neymar out wide and Dante replacing Thiago Silva in defense, it certainly isn’t a disaster. Other areas which could change are Dani Alves coming back in to replace Maicon at right back, Paulinho starting ahead of Luis Gustavo and the potential for Hulk to play up top on his own with Oscar supporting him. Ramires could then come in out wide, as Fred and Jo just haven’t performed in the central strikers role throughout the entire tournament. In the formation below it is likely that Oscar and Hulk will interchange to try and cause Germany’s defense plenty of issues. Balls in-behind Germany’s defense to use the pace of Willian and Hulk in the channels will be Brazil’s key threat going forward. As you can gather, there are plenty of moving pieces here for Scolari to tinker with. He has options, but will his attacking players finally step up when it matters in Neymar’s absence?

— Julio Cesar —


—Willian—Fernandinho—Luis Gustavo—Oscar




Low’s decisions are more straight-forward, as Germany looked solid and steady in dispatching a very talented French team at the quarterfinal stage. They may well remain the same. One of the big issues in the last few games has been at the back. Although they have only conceded three goals in five games during the entire tournament, the German defense keeps getting turned and put on the back foot way to easily. Against the likes of Willian and Hulk the towering German defense could face some issues with pace. Going forward, Low may decide that Andre Schurrle is a better option than Mesut Ozil in this match. Arsenal’s playmaker has struggled to get going in this World Cup and every time Schurrle has come off the bench he has looked incredibly dangerous. Schurrle’s pace out wide would also counteract Brazil’s full backs pushing up and allow Germany to quell the speed of Brazil’s wingers. Another option to bring back in could be Mario Gotze, as Bastian Schweinsteiger or Sami Khedira could be replaced due to Gotze’s natural creative flair.

— Neuer —






MLS to the death: Taking stock of playoff scenarios

Portland Timbers' Diego Valeri, right, challenges Montreal Impact's Laurent Ciman during the first half of a soccer game, Saturday, May 9, 2015 in Montreal. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP
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Five MLS teams have made the playoffs, but in the world of probability that number is a lot closer to 10.

Red Bulls, DC, L.A., Vancouver and Dallas are in the postseason, while Toronto, Columbus, New England and Sporting KC are on the verge. Seattle is just behind that group.

[ MORE: Three big battles between U.S. and Mexico ]

So how about those final two slots?

Eastern Conference

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – New York 31 16 6 9 55 39 16 11-2-3 5-4-6 54
x – D.C. 32 14 6 12 39 40 -1 10-3-3 4-3-9 48
New England 32 13 8 11 45 45 0 9-6-1 4-2-10 47
Columbus 32 13 8 11 51 53 -2 8-4-4 5-4-7 47
Toronto FC 31 14 4 13 55 53 2 10-1-4 4-3-9 46
Montreal 31 12 6 13 44 43 1 10-2-4 2-4-9 42
Orlando City SC 32 11 8 13 44 54 -10 6-5-5 5-3-8 41
New York City FC 32 10 7 15 47 53 -6 6-4-6 4-3-9 37
Philadelphia 32 9 7 16 40 51 -11 6-3-7 3-4-9 34
Chicago 32 8 6 18 42 52 -10 8-1-7 0-5-11 30

Matches remaning
at Colorado, vs. New England, at Toronto 
vs. NYC, at Philadelphia
New York City: at Orlando, vs. New England

Obviously, the Impact have the wheel here, though a pair of road tests — one across the continent — aren’t easy. If it comes down to a match against their rivals at BMO Field, all bets will be off. NYC can do Montreal a huge favor by getting a result in Orlando, but Jason Kreis’ side need all three points (Well, all six points… and a load of help). No one is playing better than Orlando right now.

Western Conference

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – FC Dallas 31 15 6 10 47 38 9 11-2-2 4-4-8 51
x – Los Angeles 32 14 9 9 53 39 14 12-3-1 2-6-8 51
x – Vancouver 32 15 5 12 42 34 8 8-2-6 7-3-6 50
Sporting KC 31 13 9 9 46 41 5 9-5-1 4-4-8 48
Seattle 32 14 5 13 40 34 6 10-2-4 4-3-9 47
San Jose 32 12 8 12 39 37 2 7-6-3 5-2-9 44
Portland 31 12 8 11 31 36 -5 7-6-3 5-2-8 44
Houston 32 11 8 13 41 45 -4 9-3-4 2-5-9 41
Real Salt Lake 31 11 8 12 37 43 -6 7-6-2 4-2-10 41
Colorado 31 8 10 13 30 38 -8 5-5-6 3-5-7 34

Matches remaning
San Jose:
vs Sporting KC, at Dallas
at RSL, at LA, vs. Colorado
Houston: vs. Seattle, at Vancouver
Real Salt Lake: 
vs. Portland, vs. Dallas, at Seattle

Quite literally anything can happen here in terms of these four. Pressure’s surely on Caleb Porter and the Timbers to finally give their supporters a side worth their passion. RSL is the only other side with three matches left, and the two pair up next. Houston has a harrowing pair of matches, one without Cubo Torres, while San Jose also has two tough efforts.

Chelsea make it official with former AC Milan keeper Amelia
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Longtime Serie A goalkeeper and World Cup winner Marco Amelia is giving Chelsea some cover.

The ex-AC Milan man, 33, has also played for Roma and Livorno amongst other stops in Italy, and has been on trial at Stamford Bridge for some time.

[ MORE: Klopp to Liverpool announcement expected shortly ]

Amelia will backup Asmir Begovic, and give the Blues three keepers in the absence of Thibaut Courtois.

He’s available for Chelsea’s next match, against Aston Villa, and will potentially slide into the No. 2 slot ahead of 21-year-old Jamal Blackman. Whether he’s an upgrade in skill is debatable, but his experience could prove invaluable.