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.

BRAZIL’s STARTING XI

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 —

—Maicon—Dante—Luiz—Marcelo—

—Willian—Fernandinho—Luis Gustavo—Oscar

—Hulk—

—Fred—

GERMANY’s STARTING XI

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 —

—Lahm—Boateng—Hummels—Howedes—

—Khedira—Schweinsteiger—

—Kroos—

—Muller—Podolski—Ozil—

 

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

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Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

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Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Agent Jorge Mendes appears before judge in Falcao tax probe

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MADRID (AP) Football agent Jorge Mendes has told a Spanish judge that he had no involvement in the financial planning of client Radamel Falcao, who has been accused by a state prosecutor of tax fraud.

Mendes, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, appeared before a judge in a Madrid court for 45 minutes on Tuesday as part of the probe into whether there are grounds for the case against Falcao to go to trial.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Mendes’ agency, Gestifute, released a statement saying that “neither he nor his employees have ever intervened in the creation of corporate structures for his clients and much less provided any tax advice to them.”

Last month, a state prosecutor accused Falcao of defrauding Spain’s Tax Office of around $6 million from 2012-13. The alleged unpaid taxes were from money the Colombian player made from endorsement deals through image rights, not from the salary he was then being paid from club Atletico Madrid. Falcao now plays for Monaco.

Arfield, Adekugbe on Canada’s Gold Cup roster

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Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield and on-loan Brighton defender Samuel Adekugbe are among the players who will represent Canada in this summer’s Gold Cup.

Arfield, 28, was born in Scotland and earned the first of seven Canada caps in 2016, and Adekugbe returns to Vancouver from a year-long loan to Brighton and Hove Albion on June 30.

The pair join nine MLS players, two NASL player, and a USL player, with the rest of the group based outside North America.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Notably, Orlando City players Will Johnson and Cyle Larin were not called up by coach Octavio Zambrano.

Goalkeepers: Maxime Crepeau (Montreal), Milan Borjan (MKS Korona Kielce), Jayson Leutwiler (Shrewsbury Town)

Defenders: Samuel Adekugbe (Brighton and Hove Albion), Fraser Aird, Manjrekar James (Vasas Budapest), Dejan Jakovic (New York Cosmos), Adam Straith (FC Edmonton), Steven Vitoria (Lechia Gdansk), Marcel de Jong (Vancouver Whitecaps)

Midfielders: Scott Arfield (Burnley), Patrice Bernier (Montreal), Alphonso Davies (Vancouver), Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC), Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Louisville City FC), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto), Michael Petrasso (QPR), Samuel Piette (CD Izarra), Russell Teibert (Vancouver)

Forwards: Lucas Cavallini (CA Penarol), Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto)