Germany embarrass sorry Brazil, advance to World Cup final
JUL 08, 2014 6:00p ET
It was the biggest margin of victory ever in a World Cup semifinal -- and it will rank as one of the greatest humiliations ever for the proud nation of Brazil. It is not a stretch to say that every player in this game will be marked by this result forever.
''We wanted to make the people happy ... unfortunately we couldn't,'' said Brazil defender David Luiz, who had scored in each of the last two matches. ''We apologize to all Brazilians.''
The Germans put on a show that will have historians reaching for superlatives. Their five goals in just 29 minutes was the fastest ever in World Cup history, their seven of course the most ever in a semifinal. But this also was a total collapse for Brazil, an abdication that will be chewed over for decades. Sure, they were without their star player, the injured Neymar. And yes, they had also lost their captain, Thiago Silva, to suspension. No one was under the illusion this was a vintage Brazilian side after they had been taken to penalties by Chile in the Round of 16, and struggled against a tough Colombian team in the quarterfinals.
But the way the Germans took them apart was more than a shock, and the catcalls that cascaded down from the Mineirao masked a far greater hurt. This loss is equal to the great scar that still hangs over Brazilian football: Their defeat in the 1950 World Cup final to Uruguay.
Brazil were a shambles, unable to play defense or control the midfield. And after the Germans put three goals past them, it was evident that the hosts had simply given up. In contrast, the Germans looked like surgeons on Tuesday, taking advantage of Brazil's frantic pace and lack of midfield control, needing just eleven minutes to get on the board. Thomas Muller stole the ball from Marcelo at the halfway line, and with Sami Khedira, won a corner kick. Toni Kroos heaved the ball in, and David Luiz and Dante seemed to get in each other's way, allowing the Bayern hitman a free volley on goal, which he sunk from six yards. It was goal number five for Muller, equaling his output in South Africa four years ago when he won the golden boot.
Twelve minutes later, the floodgates opened. Philipp Lahm's throw-in found Kroos in acres of space, and he squared for Miroslav Klose. Klose's shot was saved by Julio Cesar, but the Toronto FC goalkeeper couldn't hold the rebound, and Klose put in the tap-in. With it, he set the record for most goals scored in the World Cup, ever, on 16.
Just a minute after that, Kroos grabbed his first, taking an easy cross from Muller and tucking it into the bottom corner. The Brazilians hadn't even recovered, and Kroos had the fastest brace in World Cup history. Fernandinho then coughed up the ball on the kick-off allowing Kroos and Khedira to steam in, play a one-two and then it was four. Khedira and Mesut Ozil combined to sink the fifth five minutes later, with a weak tackle leaving Khedira only the net to shoot at.
That capped a show most observers of the World Cup hadn't seen the likes of since 1974, when the Johann Cruyff-led Holland took apart Argentina in a second-round game. Yes, there have been bigger slaughters -- Germany killed Mexico 6-0 in the ensuing World Cup, and put eight past Saudi Arabia in Japan in 2002 -- but nothing like this between two teams of this caliber at this stage of a World Cup.
Brazil came out in the second half and tried to salvage some pride, with Luiz Felipe Scolari throwing on Ramires and Paulinho to shore up the midfield, and for a time, they did force Manuel Neuer into a few big saves. Oscar was denied twice, once on a sitter, and Paulinho forced a fine double stop from the Bayern man as well.
But when Andre Schurrle stroked the ball home on the 68th minute, then scored again 10 minutes later, the crowds behind the goal stood up and began to file out. It was a textbook rout by now. Oscar finally got one back in the 90th minute, but even he couldn't bear to celebrate.
The scoreboard doesn't lie. Brazil had not given up more than five goals to an opponent in the World Cup since 1938 -- and they won that match 6-5, over Poland, in extra-time. And they had not lost a competitive match at home to anyone since 1975. This surpassed their worst loss ever, to Uruguay, in 1920. On Tuesday night, the golden boys not only lost, but lost badly. They were crushed by an efficient and sleek European side that didn't need to foul to break up play, that didn't rely on a single player to create their goals. The Germans are now en route to their eighth final, and by the biggest margin ever.
''Brazil was shocked after the goals, they did not expect that. They did not know what to do,'' Low said. ''Their defense was not organized. A little humbleness would not hurt now.''
There are still people alive who witnessed the loss in 1950, who still remember how the silence descended across Rio de Janeiro. But modern Brazil, hauled out of poverty and increasingly interconnected, is unlikely to respond the same way. This World Cup of course was shadowed by protests over lavish expenditures and broken promises and one must wonder now if that same rage will boil back to the surface.
''Today 10 minutes went wrong in the game and Germany did really well,'' Scolari said. ''It's a chaotic and terrible defeat but we have to learn from it. The responsibility for this catastrophic result is mine. I was in charge.''
One thing is for sure: This loss will never be forgotten.
Brazil: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Dante, David Luiz, Marcelo; Luiz Gustavo, Fernandinho (Paulinho, 46), Oscar; Bernard, Fred (Willian, 69), Hulk (Ramires, 46).
Germany: Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm, Mats Hummels (Per Mertesacker, 46), Jerome Boateng, Benedikt Hoewedes; Sami Khedira (Julian Draxler, 76), Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller; Miroslav Klose (Andre Schuerrle, 58).
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.