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Loew: Brazil have lost that magic

Santo Andre: The current Brazil team bear little resemblance to their artistic sides of the past and Germany coach Joachim Loew hopes Tuesday’s semi-final referee takes a tough stance against any attempts to disrupt the flow of the game.

“I watched the Brazil-Colombia match and there were countless fouls by both teams, fouls where players just jumped into someone else’s back to disrupt play,” Loew told German television.

“These weren’t players going after the ball in battles for possession. They were simply trying to prevent match play.”

Brazil committed 31 fouls against Colombia in a bruising quarter final on Friday. Referee Carlos Velasco of Spain did not issue his first yellow card until the second half, a point when 41 fouls had been committed by both teams.

Colombia’s James Rodriguez, the tournament’s top scorer, was subjected to rough treatment from Brazil’s midfielders, while the hosts lost Neymar for the remainder of the World Cup after he was fouled from behind and suffered a fractured vertebra.

German players have committed 57 fouls and received four yellow cards in their five matches, while Brazil have committed 96 fouls with 10 yellow cards.

“There’s precious little left of that traditional Brazilian style of soccer, that artistic style of playing that we all know so well. They have lost that magic,” Loew said.

“For sure, Brazil still have good technical players. But they’re playing more robustly than any other team here and they have been trying to break up their opponent’s attack that way.

“At the end of the day, it’s up to the referee to come up with the correct punishment,” said Loew.

Loew said, however, that even if the match became overly physical Germany could take care of themselves.

“This tournament has shown that no team has been able to play with great, brilliant, attacking football because there has been so much physical destructiveness set against that,” he said. (Reuters)