Santo Andre: Bastian Schweinsteiger said he was saddened that Neymar will not feature in the semi-final clash, but believed Brazil may play above themselves with the whole nation behind them.
He added Germany were looking forward to a classic game on Tuesday against the hosts, who won the 2002 World Cup final in the only previous clash between the two teams at a major tournament.
Schweinsteiger only wished it could have been the final. “We’re all feeling deeply saddened that he won’t be able to play… Neymar’s absence is really saddening,” the midfielder said.
“It’s always best when the greatest players are on the pitch for the great matches. I think his teammates are going to rally around even more now that he’s out and they’ll want to win the World Cup for him. They’ll derive strength from that (Neymar’s absence)… They may excel without him.”
Schweinsteiger, who has played an important role for his coach Joachim Loew as a leader on the pitch, said Brazil have plenty of great players, but Germany are ready for the hosts. “The mood on our team is very good and focused,” he told a news conference near Germany’s training camp. “We want to win… Hope we’ll be able to win the match in 90 minutes.”
Brazil, Germany’s first South American opponents at this World Cup, will be difficult to beat, he said. The Germans have won four of their matches and played out a 2-2 draw with Ghana.
“They’ve got a lot of strengths,” Schweinsteiger said when asked to list Brazil’s advantages. “They’ve got the individual class of every player on their team. They’ve got a lot of great soccer players.
“They’ve got two great coaches in Luiz Felipe Scolari and Carlos Alberto Parreira. Both of them have won the World Cup. ”I believe the team with the most intelligent coach will win the tournament. Plus Brazil also have home advantage. But I think the biggest opponent will be the experience of their coaches.”
Schweinsteiger feels fitter having overcome injuries before the World Cup. Loew had said on Friday that he might not be fit enough to play lots of matches in a row, especially after the midfielder almost collapsed towards the end of extra time in the 2-1 win against Algeria on Monday before being replaced.
“I’m feeling really good,” he said. “I feel like I can now play at the highest possible level. I’m fit and ready to play more than 90 minutes if we have to.”