BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil – At a local bar long before noon, a German supporter danced along with Brazilians playing samba.
Tension will mount, no doubt, before the 5 p.m. kick off (4 p.m. EDT/2000 GMT) in Tuesday's World Cup semifinal match between five-time champion Brazil and three-time titlist Germany.
The host nation has spent billions of dollars preparing for the tournament, with expectations that home advantage could deliver Brazil a sixth title. But with Neymar out injured and Thiago Silva suspended for the semifinals, Brazilians are suddenly very nervous.
At the Mineirao Stadium, local people wore Neymar masks to honor the 22-year-old star. Streets were filling with fans walking with Brazilian jerseys and flags. Groups of Germany fans also could be seen around Belo Horizonte.