World Cup 2014: Brazil collapses at the feet of dominant Germany

Brazil came into their semi-final with Germany without its captain and defensive rock Thiago Silva due to picking up a second yellow card for the tournament in their quarter-final win over Colombia, while the country’s best player and pin-up boy Neymar was ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup with a back injury sustained in the same game. Germany had no such problems; Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mats Hummels both overcame niggles to start.

The first ten minutes were played at a frenetic pace. Brazil’s stand-in captain David Luiz spent much of his time pointing and yelling at his defenders to stop wandering up the pitch and join the early attacks, seemingly so that he could. Perhaps the only reason why Germany didn’t score earlier than what they did was due to equally erratic distribution from their own back four.

Fittingly, it was Marcelo’s fruitless dash up the left wing that led to a German counter-attack and subsequent corner. It was then that the extent to which Brazil might miss the organisation of Silva was realised. The lethal Thomas Mueller was left alone to guide a volley into the net, with Luiz the last who was seen anywhere near the German number 13.

After a relatively tense next ten or so minutes, Brazil collapsed like no other team before them at a World Cup. First, Miroslav Klose became the leading scorer of all-time at the World Cup finals when he was allowed to finish a 5-man waltz through the Brazilian defence, scoring on the follow-up after his first effort was well-saved by Julio Cesar. Straight after, Toni Kroos made it 3-0 with a powerful hit from the edge of the box. Barely before the TV coverage could cut away from fans bawling their eyes out in the stands, a fourth was put past Cesar as Fernandinho lost the ball, essentially from the kick-off, to the advancing Kroos and Sami Khedira. The two had time to toss a coin to decide who scored; Kroos’ call of heads meaning he was able to knock it in for yet another goal. Germany at least gave the Brazilian fans time to wipe away some of their tears before belting in their fifth; Sami Khedira this time benefiting from more static, helpless, shambolic defending by the home team.

The scariest part was that just 30 minutes had been played, and Germany had already destroyed a nation. The 6 minute, 4 goal blitz was proof that the pressure heaped upon the hosts had taken its toll and without both their leader and creative genius, they were little more than spectators.

Brazil’s occasional ventures forward would end when their midfielders saw what they had in front of them, their confidence disappearing as quickly as their possession of the ball. Fred continued to be clearly inferior to everyone else on the pitch, showing nothing at all to justify his selection. The crowd picked up on this and began to ruthlessly boo him whenever he got the ball, which fortunately for him was a rare occurrence.

To their credit, at least initially, Brazil approached the second half with far better skill and looked more assured going forwards. Oscar and Paulinho, who was one of two substitutions made by Luiz Felipe Scolari at half-time, both had shots brilliantly saved by Manuel Neuer. As strange as it may sound for a team that was 5-0 behind, Julio Cesar at that stage was probably Brazil’s most impressive player. It may have inadvertently been to the detriment of his team, however, because his string of saves appeared to instill some kind of confidence in his defence. As a result, Luiz and co. kept darting forwards with the ball, leaving them wide open at the back and fully exposing Cesar.

Andre Schuerrle came on and converted Phillip Lahm’s square pass to equal the record set for the most goals scored in a World Cup semi-final. In keeping with the day’s events, that record was also broken. Schuerrle, again clear of any defenders, knocked in the seventh.

The atmosphere had become eerie. The German cohort could be heard going ballistic in a corner of the stadium while whistles and jeers kept coming from the rest of the ground. At 7-0, Oscar scored the consolation to end all consolations, before bursting into tears at the sound of the final whistle along with 200 million other Brazilians.

Germany probably wished they could play the final then and there, such was the wave of exhilaration they must have been riding, but they would get their chance in 4 days. Brazil’s next chance comes in 4 years, but it will never truly be able to erase the day from its history.

About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.

Comments

  1. Great report Tom. When I heard the score this morning I was searching for a more complete and unexpected collapse in a big game in any sport. Port Adelaide in the 2007 AFL Grand Final came to mind. Never fired a shot. Bouchard was disappointing in the Wimbledon women’s final but she is young and inexperienced, so it is not in the same category.
    Maybe its a Question for your Dad to put out to all Knackers? Thanks for the comprehensive report.

  2. It is of some consolation…not having watched the match…to read your report Tom…and sense the drama..a battle lost…yet the victor’s felt compassion…knowing history was written on that field. The score alone is not enough…brilliant report.

  3. Gregor Lewis says

    ” Brazil’s stand-in captain David Luiz spent much of his time pointing and yelling at his defenders to stop wandering up the pitch and join the early attacks, seemingly so that he could.”

    That’s it in a nutshell Tom.
    Brilliantly put.
    Cracking report lad!

    Made reliving it more delicious than watching it live.

    grl

  4. David Zampatti says

    What? No pulsating nil-all draw? No spine-tingling penalty shoot-out?? And people say the AFL has gone to the dogs…

  5. Dennis Gedling says

    Great stuff Tom. It was like someone was playing FIFA 2013 on the X-Box against their dog.

    The warning signs for a complete capitulation for Brazil was around the corner but I never thought like this. Luiz was a complete bombscare because he didn’t have Silva next to him. The midfield is equally to blame, Germany cut them open and launched forward time and time again. Scolari tried his same brutal defensive tactics as 2002 with a far more inferior 23 players this time and was shown up for it. You could get away with a lot more in 2002 when you had the Three Rs and Lucio et al in the side.

    The mocking of Brazil and Brazilians in general this morning shows Australians still love a tall poppy being cut down.

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Apparently the headline read

    Brazilian backs crack, sacked

  7. Dear DZ – Germany scored 7 goals in 90 minutes of football. Ross Lyon should sign them all up. More than Mayne and Pav can cobble together on a good day.

  8. Didn’t see the game and don’t really need to now as you seem to have captured the spirit of the Brazilian capitulation. Excellent report Tom.

  9. Tom Riordan says

    Denis – Love that analogy of playing fifa against a dog! Spot on.

    Greg – Thanks mate, much appreciated!

    Peter – I think the dogs could use Muller up front for a while

  10. daniel flesch says

    Great account of the game ,Tom. I was surprised at one goal the Germans got (their 4th or 5th approx.) The ball went just over the goalie’s outstretched hand. I reckon he would have stopped it if he’d jumped only just a bit off the ground. Guess he’d given up as they were already smashed , but still , i thought he’d be more …er…interested.

  11. David Zampatti says

    At last, the World Cup has truly arrived. The Dutch and the Argies put the “beautiful” back in The Beautiful Game.

    If only life was a penalty shoot-out.

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