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Jenkins’ semi-finals preview

When the world’s best football teams converged on Brazil, you could not have asked for a better four squads to remain.

The offensively deadly German side will clash with the hometown heroes in the gold jerseys whilst the Netherlands – who have never won a World Cup – will face off against an Argentinian squad boasting plenty of firepower but only minimal impact so far this tournament.

The reigning world champion Spanish unit, 2006 champions Italy, the ever-promising Englishmen and Christiano Ronaldo’s Portugal were all considered contenders for world football’s biggest crown but none made any impact as they all went down in the group stages.

‘the semi-final match-ups will be watched by the world – whoever goes through will put on a show that will need to be seen to be believed.’

Following the three group matches, any team with the hope of claiming glory must find a way to win four consecutive matches – which at this level is an enormous ask.

And with the World Cup finals requiring teams to play seven matches in a short span of time, injuries often occur.

The 2014 edition has been no different.

Brazil have lost their cult-hero and more importantly their prime offensive weapon in Neymar.

Neymar suffered a fracture in his lower back against Colombia and is gone for the tournament.

His departure leaves a huge goal-scoring hole in the Brazilian side as he was responsible for scoring six of his team’s 10 goals this tournament.

Argentina will also have some headaches as its star striker Sergio Aguero battles to overcome a hamstring complaint in time to face Holland.

Let’s find the two teams who will square off in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

BRAZIL v GERMANY, Wednesday July 9

With Neymar’s untimely injury, these two sides can’t be split – at least by the bookmakers.

Both teams have punched home 10 goals and whilst Brazil will have a raucous home crowd on its side, Germany now possess the offensive advantage with Neymar being out.

Germany boasts numerous world-class midfielders and goal-scoring threats such as Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose, Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller, who has scored four goals of his own.

The goals have dried up as the stakes were raised with each match played but with two teams who like to play aggressive, attacking, offensive football, some high scoring is not off the cards.

A penalty shootout looms large in this one and everyone knows anything can happen in that scenario.

MY TIP: Brazil 2, Germany 2 (Germany to upset the hosts on penalties)

ARGENTINA v NETHERLANDS, Thursday July 10

The world’s best player, Lionel Messi will look to put his Argentinian teammates on his back once again and march towards a World Cup final appearance.

Argentina start as warm favourites but the Dutch are an elite squad littered with talented football players who know what it takes, especially on a big stage.

Manchester United superstar Robin van Persie leads the Dutch attack but is ably assisted by Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben and veteran Dirk Kuyt.

If both sides are at their best you would expect Argentina to scrape through for a crack at the title, but the Netherlands possess more than enough weapons to go all the way to the big show.

MY TIP: Argentina 1, Netherlands 2.

Whatever the results, the semi-final match-ups will be watched by the world and whoever goes through will put on a show that will need to be seen to be believed.

Enjoy the last few days of World Cup action from Brazil, because it’s a long time to wait for the next one!