Football: Neymar injury could help Brazil, says Schweinsteiger
Published on Jul 7, 2014 6:29 AM
SANTO ANDRE, Brazil (AFP) - Germany are disappointed Brazil's star Neymar is ruled out of World Cup semi-final on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said his injury could yet galvanise the Selecao.
Schweinsteiger, captain Philip Lahm and midfielder Sami Khedira all made comments supporting Neymar, who was ruled out of the World Cup after suffering a fractured vertebrae suffered in Brazil's quarter-final win against Colombia.
Germany regret Neymar's absence from the clash at Belo Horizonte's Mineirao Stadium, but his injury could galvanise the hosts, Schweinsteiger said on Sunday.
"We're all sad that Neymar can't play, it's always better when the opponent has all their best players on the pitch," said the Bayern Munich star at a press conference.
"It'll bring the (Brazil) team together and they'll want to win the title for him." His captain Lahm said the tournament is worse off without the Brazil star.
"Neymar is a sensational player who has shown his class at the World Cup," Lahm told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
"At a World Cup you always want to measure yourself against the best that is why I would prefer Brazil played with Neymar," he added.
"It is bad news for us and for fans of football," Khedira told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
The Germans are still wary of Brazilian power.
"The Brazilians will put out a super team even without Neymar," said Khedira. "Brazil have enough players to help in his place," added Lahm.
Brazil are also without suspended captain Thiago Silva, but Schweinsteiger says, regardless of who plays, the Selecao is still a class outfit.
"They have two coaches in (Felipe) Scolari and (Carlos Alberto) Parreira who have won the title already, they have the home advantage and players with individual class," said Schweinsteiger, who will win his 107th cap.
"Their coaches has a lot of experience of this kind of situation.
"It's an honour and a challenge to play against the hosts, but it have would be better to play Brazil in the final.
"It doesn't matter how much experience you have, to play the hosts in this football-crazy country, I mean that in a positive sense, is something special."
Assistant coach Hansi Flick said Barcelona's Neymar had justified the huge expectations on him coming into the tournament.
"He's a loss for Brazil, he's an excellent player who fulfilled the expectations on him, he's had a great tournament," said Flick.
With the exception of hamstring-injury victim Shkodran Mustafi, Flick said the entire Germany squad is fit and free of the mild flu virus which blighted them last week.
With Silva set to miss out, Germany could face Brazilian centre-back Dante, which would help both sides, according to his Bayern Munich team-mate Schweinsteiger.
"I hope he starts, we know him very well and know his strengths and weaknesses, but he also knows how we play," said the 29-year-old.