"In my mind, fast players like Willian and Bernard need to be considered ..." Zico wrote in UK newspaper The Observer on Sunday.

"Above all, the Brazilian players have the chance to draw energy from Neymar's sacrifice ... they need to leave their souls on the pitch as a tribute for this kid whose dreams have been shattered because of one horrific tackle," Zico concluded.

Three-time champions Germany come into Tuesday's crunch match buoyed by a typically robust 1-0 win over France in the quarterfinals.

Joachim Low's side are seeking a first World Cup win in 24 years after narrow misses in the last three tournaments.

In 2002, Germany were runners up to Brazil -- the only World Cup meeting between the teams -- before losing at the semifinal stage to eventual winners Italy and Spain in 2006 and 2010 respectively.

A hugely experienced squad -- five players have 100 caps or more -- must quietly fancy their chances against an under-strength Brazil.

Not that anyone is saying that publicly.

"We're all sad that Neymar can't play, it's always better when the opponent has all their best players on the pitch," Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger told FIFA.com.

"It'll bring the (Brazil) team together and they'll want to win the title for him."

Schweinsteiger also pointed to the pedigree of Brazil's coaching team -- noting both Scolari and technical director Carlos Alberto Parreira have previously managed Brazil to victory (in 2002 and 1994 respectively) -- and that home advantage shouldn't be underestimated.

"Their coaches have a lot of experience of this kind of situation. It's an honor and a challenge to play against the hosts, but it have would be better to play Brazil in the final," Schweinsteiger said.

"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."

The task of officiating this clash of two World Cup titans has been handed to Marco Rodriguez.

Players from both sides will be hoping that he is alert to all incidents -- the 40-year-old Mexican failed to spot Luis Suarez's bite on defender Giorio Chiellini when Uruguay played Italy in the group stages last month.

Referring to Carlos Velasco Carballo's leniency in officiating Brazil's win over Colombia -- only two Brazilians were booked by the Spanish referee despite the Selecao's 31 fouls -- Schweinsteiger urged Rodriguez to be watchful.

"The Brazilians here aren't the magicians of old, the team has changed and so has their playing style," said the Bayern Munich midfielder.

"Hard challenges are definitely are part of their game, it's something we have to be careful of and the referee too."