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Loew concerned about “brutal” tackling


SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Loew concerned about “brutal” tackling

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BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) – Germany coach Joachim Loew is worried about Brazil’s “brutal” tackling in recent games, and appealed to the referee of their World Cup semi-final to be on the lookout for such tactics.
Germany and Brazil play today in Belo Horizonte, with Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez in charge of the match.
Loew was one of many observers who took note of the bruising quarter-final between Brazil and Colombia, and said that tackling by both sides was often “brutal and almost over the limit”.
“My hope, or what I expect, is that the referee Rodriguez keeps an eye on these things,” Loew said. “In Europe there would not be 22 players on the pitch at the end. There were many hard fouls from behind, from the side. You have to see that this brutal and robust physical side is stopped because then you won’t have a Neymar, Messi … but other players who destroy the game.”
Neymar, Brazil’s biggest star, fractured a vertebra late in that game after taking a knee in the back, an injury that ruled him out of the rest of the World Cup.
Loew began the news conference by once again expressing regret that Neymar will miss the match. Brazil captain and defender Thiago Silva is also out because of a suspension.
“A top player missing means other players will take responsibility and I am sure they will play for Neymar and for Thiago,” Loew said. “No one should think that Neymar’s absence or Thiago Silva’s is a disadvantage, with Dante playing you can’t expect him to play badly, especially against Germany.”
Centre back Dante, who is expected to replace Silva, plays for Bayern Munich and is a teammate of many Germany players.
Loew said Brazil were sure to take commitment, passion and emotion and the “backing of 200 million” into the semi-final, but that Germany should not adjust to their opponent and will try to play their own game.
“We are confident and if we manage to play to our abilities, our hopes of reaching the final are not all that bad,” Loew said.
Loew said that all 22 players remaining in his squad were fit and ready to play. Defender Shkodran Mustafi is out with a leg muscle injury.
Loew said Brazil were the favourites despite the absence of top stars.
“Such semi-finals are a special occasion, the fight of the two continents, two European teams against two South American teams,” he said.
In the other semi-final tomorrow, Argentina play the Netherlands in Sao Paulo.
Germany, three-time champions, are playing in their fourth straight semi-final and hoping to reach their first final since 2002, when they lost to Brazil in the only previous World Cup match the two nations have played.
 

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