Despite being out of the squad after a World Cup-ending injury, Neymar was the hot topic on the eve of Brazil's match against Germany this Tuesday (8 July) at 5 PM (Mineirão stadium, Belo Horizonte). On the Brazilian side, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has denied that the group is still shaken by the striker's back injury, but said that the Seleção will also be playing for him when it enters the pitch. German coach Joachim Löw, in turn, lamented the absence of the playmaker but denied that Germany has become a favourite because of it. The winner guarantees a spot in the final match at the Maracanã. Its opponent is the victor in Argentina vs. Netherlands, who clash this Wednesday in São Paulo.
“Neymar left a lot of him with us when he left, and took a lot of us with him. But we are now through with this involvement in that aspect. The players understand that his part has been played, and it is now time for us to do our share. This match is crucial. It can lead us to the final. It's a match that we play not just for us, but for the whole country, for all that we have dreamed of. And a bit of each of us will also be playing for Neymar, for everything he has done for us," said Scolari.
Before answering questions from the press, coach Joachim Löw made a point of sending a message to Neymar. “Before we talk about ourselves, I wanted to say something about Neymar. We are sorry that he is injured, for us and for Brazil, and that it's something very serious for him, for the team and for the country. It's a terrible situation. We would love to see him on the pitch, and I wish him a speedy recovery and that he is back playing soon," he said.
Scolari will once again be able to make use of defensive midfielder Luis Gustavo, coming back from suspension, and may maintain Paulinho and Fernandinho on the team. That would leave him with more firepower in the defence, leaving the backs with more room to play. With those changes, Daniel Alves (who has a more offensive profile) could return as right-back in the starting line-up to replace Maicon, who played the quarterfinals against Colombia. Scolari can also opt to use midfielder Willian, or even striker Bernard, to replace Neymar.
Another absentee will be defender Thiago Silva, who was booked his second yellow card in the triumph against Colombia and will be serving a one-match suspension. His most likely replacement is Bayern Munich defender Dante. The team captain is likely to be (the also defender) David Luiz.
The referee for the match will be Mexican Marco Rodriguez, assisted by compatriots Marvin Quintero and Mark Torrentera. Rodriguez is the same referee who officiated the match between Italy and Uruguay in the group phase (and missed Luis Suárez’s bite of Italy defender Chiellini).
The City of Belo Horizonte has decreed a municipal holiday for this Tuesday because of the match. The idea is to facilitate urban mobility in the city for the day. The public holiday is not valid for any entities linked to the operation of the World Cup, essential services (such as healthcare units) and public transportation. The following establishments may also operate regularly: street shops, bars, restaurants, shopping centers and malls, galleries, tourist attractions, tourism-related businesses, hotels and newspaper and broadcasting companies.
Learn how to get to the Mineirão
There are several public transportation options for fans to get to the Mineirão, including the Terminal Copa bus lines, the Move BRT system and regular bus lines. In addition to those options, fans coming in from the north region of the capital will rely on additional staff from the BHTrans (Belo Horizontal Transit and Transportation Company) to assist at the areas with diverted traffic. Expanded signage will also be in place to assist drivers.
The five Terminal Copa bus terminals are located in Savassi, the City Centre, Minas Shopping, Expominas and Confins. The Move system will have two lines operating in expanded capacity for the match this Tuesday: regular line 5106 (Bandeirantes/BHShopping) and special line 50. The Terminal Copa terminals will start operating five hours before the start of the match (12 PM) for trips to the stadium and switch to the opposite route shortly after the end of the match (and for 2 hours afterwards). The bus pass for the Terminal Copa bus lines will cost R$ 15.00 (one-time charge, valid for the round trip) and can be bought at the Terminal Copa terminals or the Transfácil stations.
Another choice available is the regular bus service: fans can embark on any of the bus lines that stop at or near the Mineirão. All buses from those lines will be identified with a Mineirão Stadium sticker at the front.