Brazil and Germany collide in a heavyweight clash of continental superpowers in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday as the World Cup semifinals get under way.
The prize for the winner is a place in Sunday's final where they will meet either Argentina or the Netherlands, who face off in another South America-Europe semifinal duel on Wednesday.
Brazil face Germany missing star striker Neymar and captain Thiago Silva after an appeal to FIFA to rescind his suspension fell on deaf ears on Monday.
Two hundred million Brazilians may not agree with him but German coach Joachim Loew suggests this twin misfortune may help rather than hinder the hosts.
"Setbacks often set free additional forces," Loew said. "Nobody should believe that our task is made easier by the loss of Neymar, quite the opposite. And Thiago Silva's suspension shows the depth of the Selecao's squad. Scolari can now use a player like Dante, so I can't see there being a loss of quality."
Silva's captain's armband will be worn by Paris Saint-Germain's £50 million ($85 million) new acquisition, David Luiz.
Curiously, the two countries' paths have only crossed once before at a World Cup — in the 2002 final with Brazil prevailing 2-0.