Germany destroy Brazil as Klose writes his name into World Cup history books
Brazil 1 Germany 7 - World Cup semi-final
By the end of this mesmerising master-class from Germany, the fans were chanting “ole” – and that was the Brazilian fans.
Germany were so fluid in their movement, so clinical in their finishing that even the vanquished had to applaud. Brazilians know good football and only one team played it here. Oscar pulled one back but all the awards went to Germany.
Otherwise, the Brazil players were an embarrassment to a famous shirt, a point their furious supporters made splenetically. Yet they stayed to the end, most of them. They saluted Germany. So many of Joachim Loew’s players stood up to what could have been an intimidating occasion. Toni Kroos was magnificent, scoring twice and running midfield. It is hard to recall when Sami Khedira played better. Andre Schurrle came on and scored twice.
Brazil were introduced to the Brutal Game. Their supporters reacted angrily in Belo Horizonte and the inquest will be grim for players like Fred and their coach Luis Felipe Scolari.
This was astonishing. This year the carnival dress code is lederhosen. Germany were unplayable for 30 minutes. Some Brazilian fans walked out, staggering like boxers who had stepped up a weight division and been badly beaten. Most supporters stayed, chanting “Brasil, Brasil”, showing some defiance as they surveyed the wreckage of their defence and their World Cup dream as Mueller, Klose, Kroos twice and Khedira poured through.
The last team to score five in a semi-final were Brazil in 1958. Germany matched that in half an hour. Mueller was everywhere in the final third, Kroos was superb powering forward, the oft-maligned Mesut Ozil contributed to the moves while Khedira delivered one of his best displays as Brazil were taken apart. Poor Julio Cesar; Brazil’s ’keeper was given no protection.
For the Germans, this was kharma for Yokohama. This was that 2002 final avenged, erasing the memory of Oliver Kahn being humbled by Ronaldo.
This was another craved step on the way to a fourth World Cup, a step taken with such confidence. As the fan with the shirt message said: “1954, 1974, 1990 – let’s do it again’’. Let’s get that fourth star on the shirt. Germany have the players, the coach and the momentum. They have the mix of defensive expertise and goals from a myriad sources.
They took on more than 11 Brazilians here; they took on a nation and prevailed. They came to bury Cesar, not praise him.
For Brazil’s goalkeeper, the players and the nation, the heartache will linger deep and long. They had wanted the chance to confront the Maracanazo, that deep psychological scar left from the 1950 defeat to Uruguay in their spiritual home. Brazil had wanted to do it also for Neymar, their beloved colleague brutally removed from contention by a callous Colombian. They had craved the opportunity to do it for every kid in the favela who dreams of being David Luiz, Oscar or Hulk.
Instead, the Selecao must build again, also enduring the wrath of those who felt another final to be a right. They will fear Argentina progressing to Maracana, hearing them chant: “How does it feel: to be bossed around in your own home?”
But, deservedly, it is the Germans who take most interest in the semi-final in Sao Paulo between Argentina and Holland. Louis van Gaal may be the coach of the tournament but a South American-European final would be a true World Cup final; there would also be something fitting if the best player of the modern era, Lionel Messi, took on the Germans, the best team of this fabulous tournament.
On the evidence of events in Estadio Mineirao, a combined Dutch-Argentinian all-star team would struggle against Mueller and die Mannschaft. In the most larcenous of false dawns, Brazil had actually started promisingly. The mood was upbeat, particularly when the fans saw that Scolari had opted with the popular Bernard to replace the wounded Neymar.
Brazil’s coach could have been cautious, opting for a third defensive midfielder with Paulinho, but he went on the offensive, in keeping with the country’s footballing traditions and walked into a trap. Germany were waiting, ready to break forward and smash through the thin ramparts of a Brazilian defence missing the suspended Thiago Silva.
Outside Estadio Mineirao, the usual eclectic sights and sounds abounded. A fan in a Brazil shirt walked past carrying a cut-out of Mick Jagger in a Germany shirt with a bubble and the words “Let’s Go Germany”. They think it’s all over now – it was after 30 minutes. Brazil supporters mingled with Germans in Neuer and Schweinsteiger shirts, before walking away, singing in English: “Drink your beer, drink your beer, and go back to Germany”. The real Neuer and Schweinsteiger had no such intention. They marched into a cauldron and quickly put out the fire.
Brazil’s players arrived with “Forca Neymar” caps. Supposedly a positive, the Neymar factor worked horribly against Brazil. They were too distracted. They rode a wave of pure national adrenalin and got caught in the rip-tide. During another storming rendition of their national anthem, when even the mascots were pumped up, David Luiz held up Neymar’s shirt. There was hardly a dry eye in the house. It blurred Brazil’s vision.
Excessive emotion can be dangerous. Brazil forgot all about Germany’s calm, clinical qualities side and their tactical intelligence. Bastian Schweinsteiger sat deep, keeping Oscar quiet. Khedira was more advanced than anticipated. And, crazily, Brazil forgot about Mueller when Kroos swept in that 11th-minute corner. They failed to remember that this is a goal-hunter who had scored nine times in his previous 11 World Cup games. Mueller loves this level, and he certainly adores the type of space granted him by Brazil’s naive defence. When Kroos' corner cleared the Brazilian centre-halves who had been lured across by decoy runs, Mueller met the ball on the volley, sending it flying past Cesar.
Suddenly, it seemed that Mueller, having reached double figures aged only 24, could chase down Klose and Ronaldo, who shared the World Cup record of 15 goals. Klose responded.
Brazil were clinically dissected, soon resembling a yellow cadaver. After 23 minutes, Kroos powered through the middle, finding Mueller, who flicked the ball in to Klose. Cesar saved the striker’s first shot but Klose ruthlessly despatched the loose ball, giving him the record. For now. Don’t rule out Mueller long-term.
Then came that quick-fire Kroos double in the 24th and 25th minutes. Kroos was the catalyst for the first, passing to Ozil, who neatly sent Philipp Lahm overlapping down the right.
Mueller failed to make proper contact and the cross continued to Kroos, who thumped it left-footed past Cesar. Again, brutal. Again, hopeless defending.
Kroos was immense, adding a deserved second within a minute. Fernandinho dawdled in possession, Kroos nipped in, nicking the ball and passing slightly left to Khedira. He returned the ball to Kroos, who again was not picked up by Brazil’s AWOL defence. Kroos this time applied his right foot to proceedings with the same result.
The Germans would not ease up. No mercy. No sympathy for the hosts. They were determined to ruin the party, the guests seizing control. Mats Hummels joined in the fun, driving through from centre-half, passing to Khedira.
It was so quick, so precise that even a strong defence would have laboured, let alone a rabble like Brazil’s. Ozil took up the running, passing back neatly to Khedira, who slid in German’s fifth as Dante tried vainfully to stop the raging inferno engulfing Brazil.
The second half found little respite. Fred bore the brunt of the fans’ frustration until replaced by Willian. Fred was not the only target, president and players alike were castigated. “Dilma f**k off; Fred f**k off; Oscar f**k off”, thousands chanted. After 69 minutes, Germany made it 6-0 when Lahm guided the ball to the substitute Andre Schurrle, who deepened Brazil’s misery.
Schurrle made it 7-0 from a tight angle and even the Brazilian fans began applauding German brilliance, pausing briefly to acknowledge Oscar’s firm finish. (© Daily Telegraph, London)