The second semi-final of the tournament pits the CONCACAF winners, Mexico, against the World Cup holders, Germany. In their ten previous meetings, Mexico have come out with a win only once. But this Germany is far from their full squad, which makes the tie a lot more balanced.
Two teams and very little dependency on individualism, this promises to be an end-to-end, exhilarating encounter. Here, we look at the three important, potential deciding factors before the ball rolls in Sochi.
Kickoff: 11:30 PM IST
3. All for one, one for all
Joachim Loew's Germany is the youngest team in the tournament. Their performances, however, have been far from nervy. So far, they have lived up to the stripes they proudly wear, and they would love to keep their fine record against Mexico intact tonight.
Despite missing some of their biggest names, Germany have kept improving from their first match, which says a great deal about the trust and understanding they have.
Loew has emphasised on the bonding his side has, saying that "It's nice that the team is bonding, because the players are spending time with each other off the pitch too. They're incredibly happy to be here. Not a single player is seeking to be in the spotlight, instead they all want to succeed as a team," he said.
The young Germans know they have a daunting match to play, but their youthful exuberance could be too hot to handle for the Mexicans.
2. Fearless as ever
Having qualified for the tournament seven times so far, Mexico are the most experienced side in the tournament. They are also the only team to have won the tournament of champions. Mexico may not have the squad their opponents do, but they will not most certainly give their place up without a fight.
When asked about the style of play against world champions, Germany, Chicharito said, “We’re going to take the game to Germany and we’re not going to change our style of play. Obviously, we want to work on our weaknesses, but our attacking play has enabled us to pick up some good results. Why would we change that?”
This kind of attitude from one of the most senior players on the squad shows how confident they are, and hopefully, they will back their words with an equally impressive display.
1. Draxler and Chicharito
German captain, Julian Draxler, has had an impressive campaign. Despite being just 23, he's shown supreme leadership qualities and has impressed his coach. He's technically superb, pacey, and can score with either foot. A match of such magnitude begs for a hero, and Germany will be hoping it's their young, versatile captain.
Javier Hernandez has had a wobbly career. But there is one thing that makes him stand out from the rest, his ability to hit the back of the net. No matter how difficult circumstances are, he manages finds a way more often than not. And tonight, too, Mexicans will depend upon their favourite, 'Chicharito,' with hopeful eyes for a moment of magic.
Who will win when exuberance takes on experience? Much will depend upon the performance of the two superstars in question.