The first of the highly anticipated World Cup semi-finals got underway last night in the city of Belo Horizonte between the expectant host nation Brazil and perennial challengers Germany.
To describe what occurred last night as a ‘battle’ would be doing a great disservice to the demolition job that Germany inflicted upon the Brazilian defence last night, as well as their whole team come to think of it. It was probably the most surreal moment that I personally have ever witnessed in watching sport. It was almost dream-like in the way the Brazilian defence simply melted away due to the swathes of German attacks.
From the very start, the Germans looked to dominate the game and apart from one potentially dangerous cross in the first 10 minutes from Brazilian left-back Marcelo, they did. The tone was set for a complete victory when Thomas Müller scored from a German corner in the 11th minute. What proceeded to occur in the following 15 minutes will probably not only live long in the memories of every Brazilian and certainly every German present in the stadium last night but also in everyone’s who watched too.
When Miroslav Klose’ record-breaking goal in the 23rd minute ensured Brazil’s bad start had slipped a notch to ‘worse’, Toni Kroos’ two goals in the 24th and 26th minutes made certain it had slipped two notches to ‘nightmare’ and when Sami Khedira proceeded to make it 5-0 in the 29th minute…well Brazil had slipped into the 7th circle of hell by then.
It wasn’t to end there though as substitute André Schürrle made sure it was dreamland for the Germans as he made it 7-0 with two goals in the 69th and 79th minutes. Oscar’s last minute could hardly be described as a consolation as Germany had simply moved into ‘save yourself for the final mode’. A quite remarkable evening has ensued and added credence to the claim that Brazil 2014 is quite possibly the most remarkable World Cup ever.
Well what more can be said of this German team? They were simply magnificent and although you could say that as good as they were, Brazil were just as bad that would be massively understating their performance. Germany ensured that every aspect of their game was spot on, transitionally between defence and attack and then ensuring that when Brazil had the ball it was virtually impossible for them to break through as they had a defined structure to what they were doing.
Of course there was stand out individuals. Mats Hummels in the middle of defence was outstanding, a natural leader that looked like the final link in the armour. Toni Kroos was equally outstanding in midfield, dictating the German tempo, demanding the ball and never wasting it and who can forget Miroslav Klose; the ultimate poacher it seems. 16 World Cup goals beating Brazilian Ronaldo’s World Cup record of 15 and ensuring that the German’s rubbed salt into those goal-ridden Brazilian wounds.
On the other hand, Brazil were simply awful. A collection of individuals who looked overcome with the pressure of representing this great nation in a World Cup on home soil. To many, even before the tournament started, it seemed clear the Brazilian squad was nowhere near good enough and was geared more to pragmatism rather than traditional Brazilian skill and flair.
David Luiz was the archetypal Brazilian centre-back, a marauding presence who joins in attacks…even when you’re 5-0 down within half an hour. It was a ridiculous performance from the stand-in captain who was also lucky not to be sent off for flailing elbows and reckless challenges.
It was quite a devastatingly lethal finish while collecting a lofted ball from Müller and on the half volley lashing in past the hapless Julio Cesar. It served to compound Brazil’s misery as well as confirm German dominance on a quite outstanding night for German football.
Quite a big gripe that Brazil didn’t make it to the final top play in the spiritual home of football, the Maracana Stadium in the World Cup final. It would have been a privilege to see, especially against Argentina as well as then it would have been truly special.
An extremely poor performance put paid to that dream though for many Brazilians and they will not allow that team to forget it either.
Categories: world cup