Germany manager Joachim Low has labeled Brazil as the favorites despite Neymar’s absence and has also urged the officials to clamp down on their physical approach.

Brazil and Germany will face each at Belo Horizonte later tonight with a place in the final at stake. These two nations share eight World Cups and 12 appearances in the final among themselves and have been two of the most consistent performers in this tournament’s history – yet incredibly, this is only their second meeting in the World Cup.

Germany manager Joachim Low pointed out his nation’s consistency at the big stage and insisted that they are desperate to reach the final this year. Low is aware of the threats Brazil possesses and labelled them as the favourites in this contest. But he is also confident that his team can step up on the night and produce the performance required to defeat the host nation.

“We’ve been in at least the semi-finals of the last four World Cups and that just shows that we’ve been playing consistently at the very highest level,

“This is a highlight now; it’s something special and amazing. I’m looking forward to it so much, and everybody in the squad is too.

“I think all Germans are also, and one thing’s for sure – we desperately want to play in the Maracana in Rio again on July 13. We’re not done yet.

“We all know how strong Brazil are. They were the big favourites right from the start and the players have mostly coped with this role outstandingly.

“They underlined at the Confederations Cup last year that the expectation levels lift them further and the pressure doesn’t numb them.

“What they’ve done is good for the whole tournament; it’s good when the hosts go so far, but we’re self-confident and we’ve gelled more as the tournament has progressed.

“We’ll devise a good plan and give Brazil a real fight. The chances are even and it’s going to come down to something really minor, who reaches the final.” – The Germany manager said in his post-match interview.

Brazil’s chances of beating Germany have taken a huge blow as their star forward Neymar has been ruled out of the tournament after suffering a critical injury during their quarter-final fixture against Colombia. The host nation will also miss their captain Thiago Silva due to suspension, after he picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in the last game. Low insisted that although these two are key players for Brazil, they will be able to cope with their absence. He also hoped that Neymar can recover quickly from this setback.

“You always want to see the best players in action at a World Cup, and the players always want to measure themselves up to the very best.

“It’s a pity that Brazil have to play without two of their best, but they will be able to cover for them.

“I’m incredibly sorry for Neymar. He’s an amazing footballer and it’s really bitter and hugely unfortunate that he’s going to miss out – for him, for his team and for the whole nation.

“I hope he recovers and is playing again as quickly as possible and that he can deal with this setback positively.” – Low added.

Low also hoped that the referee for this game, Marco Rodriguez, will protect his players against a very ‘physical’ Brazil side. He expressed his worry about how they approached the game against Colombia and insisted that the officials need to take control of the game.

“I hope the referee, Mr Rodriguez from Mexico, will clamp down on things. That physical energy in the match against Colombia went beyond the limits in Europe. When I saw that match….in Europe, 22 players wouldn’t have ended that match.

“There were brutal fouls. People blocking opponents however they could. It was really exaggerated. That’s what we saw on the pitch, so I hope these really brutal and crude fouls are stopped, or we won’t see players like Lionel Messi, Mesut Ozil or Neymar – we’ll just see players who go out to destroy.

“This is a World Cup that’s full of dynamism and physical force, but I’ve seen matches where the limits have been surpassed.

“Colombia against Brazil was a real fight with numerous fouls from both sides, not just the one foul against Neymar, but many others as well.

“The actual playing time was only 38 or 39 minutes, there were so many breaks in play. I don’t think players and fans like the match being constantly stopped.

“Players have been warned what would earn them a yellow or a red card but you saw in the Colombia match many fouls from behind which were really dangerous for the players. You have to protect the players when you’re a referee.” – Low said.