Brazil's Marcelo gestures over his injured teammate Neymar during their 2014 World Cup quarter-finals at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza on July 4, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
1. Neymar injured, Silva suspended. Can Brazil overcome this?
The hosts are reeling from the losses of talismanic forward Neymar (fractured vertebrae) and captain Thiago Silva (suspended).
In the absence of the latter, either Henrique or Dante is likely to slot in at central defence alongside quarter-final scoring hero David Luiz.
Such is the importance of Silva that Brazil are trying to appeal to Fifa to lift the skipper's suspension to allow him to face the attack-minded Germans.
But the loss of four-goal Neymar will be harder to make up for. Brazil’s No. 10 has scored four of his side’s 10 goals at this Finals, with centre-back Luiz the only other player with more than one goal to his name. Chelsea’s Willian, who offers plenty of pace, is Neymar's likely replacement.
Mexico’s Marco Rodriguez will be the referee in Brazil's World Cup semi-final showdown with Germany. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
2. Referee who missed Suarez bite is man in middle. More on him.
Mexico’s Marco Rodriguez has been handed the assignment.
The 40-year-old is officiating in his third World Cup Finals and sent-off at least two players in each of his previous outings.
He took a step towards keeping up that record when he showed Italy’s Claudio Marchisio a red card in their Group D clash with Uruguay but will be best remembered for failing to spot Luis Suarez’s bite on Giorgio Chiellini in that same match.
With Brazil making headlines for their rough play, Rodriguez will need to be on high alert to spot the fouls and punish the offenders to keep the semi-final a flowing game of football.
Celebration time for Germany's forward Thomas Mueller (left) after scoring a penalty during the Group G football match between Germany and Portugal at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador on June 16, 2014, and Brazil's defender David Luiz at the end of the penalty shootout between Brazil and Chile in the on June 28, 2014 in the Round of 16 matches. Brazil will face Germany in the semi-final match in the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte on July 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
3. What are the chances Germany will avenge their 2002 loss to Brazil?
History favours the hosts as they prepare to do battle for the 22nd time.
Brazil have won 12 of their 21 previous encounters. There have also been five draws, leaving the Germans with just four wins over their semi-final opponents.The teams have only ever met once between at the World Cup – in the 2002 Final in Japan, in which Brazil ran out 2-0 winners.
Then, Ronaldo (the Brazilian one), scored twice to finish the tournament as the top scorer with eight goals. But Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn received the Golden Ball in recognition for being the best player of the competition.
Germany's defender and captain Philipp Lahm (centre) and Germany's midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (right) celebrate after winning the quarter-final football match between France and Germany 1-0 at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on July 4, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
4. Which team has more experience at this stage of the World Cup?
Despite having the distinction of being the only team to have played in all 20 World Cup Finals, five-time winners Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002) have actually made the final four fewer times than their opponents, who won the world title three times (1954, 1974, 1990).
This is the 11th time that the hosts have reached the last four, while the Germans are making their 13th appearance in 18 attempts.
Both teams have made it to the Final a record seven times but overall, the Germans are more consistent in the World Cup, as the country has finished in the top three 11 times, more than Brazil (nine), Italy (seven), Argentina and France (both four).
Hamsters Tiki and Taka concentrating on their task in The Straits Times Hamster Cup. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN
5. Tiki & Taka. Want to know who our hamsters predict will win?
Rodent athletes Tiki and Taka took to Stadio Straits Times following a four-match streak of spot-on predictions.
They got the balls rolling again to predict the first crucial semi-final fixture. So which team did the hamsters predict will prevail in the Hamster Cup, where Taka represented the Neymar-less hosts Brazil and Tiki played for tournament favourites Germany?
Find out by watching the video here.