Shocking. Devastating. Surreal.
Never before has a World Cup Semifinal been so aptly characterized by a number of one-word descriptions. Then again, never before has soccer’s biggest event seen a blowout like Germany laid on Brazil Tuesday afternoon.
In a span of 29 first-half minutes, the Germans so thoroughly humiliated Brazil that it wouldn’t have been surprising to see supporters of both the Selecao and Die Mannschaft simply staring on in disbelief.
Five goals in the blink of an eye sunk a previously shaky Brazilian side that was admittedly playing without its two best players in Neymar and Thiago Silva. Nevertheless, no one expected even a short-handed, flawed Brazil team to be so decimated by the Germans.
The embarrassment continued into the second half and by the time an agonizing 90 minutes of soccer finally ended for the tourney hosts, Germany had hung a 7-1 blasting on Brazil that can only be described as historic.
Historic in that Brazil had not lost a competitive home match since 1975. Historic in that Germany became the first team to score seven goals in a World Cup Semifinal. And finally, historic in that Brazil suffered the worst loss in their proud pedigree of World Cup performances.
Certainly coach Luiz Felipe Scolari will be under siege from both Brazilian and international press in the coming days and weeks. Perhaps the best consolation for both Scolari and Brazil will be the realization that Germany was simply superior from the start.
As for the elated Germans, one more match remains. And that match will mean everything come Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.
Coach Joachim Loew’s team was poised at the start and clinical in their finishing. When possessing the ball, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger were quick and precise in their movement. The result was an epic performance that will be long remembered in future years.
On the other side, the Brazilians are now only left to endless hours of soul-searching. Rarely does a national team in any sport operate under more pressure and scrutiny than Brazil’s soccer team. And it appeared the pressure finally broke down Scolari’s team.
Defensively, the Brazilians looked lost from the start and offered Germany free runs through the middle. The move to replace Silva with Dante failed miserably and the team’s other defenders were left flat-footed throughout the contest. Dante’s efforts were the least of Brazil’s problems, however. Simply put, this Brazilian performance was a tattered mess.
In the meantime, Germany will look to gain their first international title since 1996 when they face the survivor of tomorrow’s Argentina-Netherlands clash at Estadio Maracana on Sunday. They look poised, focused and resolute in pursuit of their first world title since 1990. It seems Loew’s biggest challenge now will be keeping his players level-headed as they count down to their biggest match in the past 24 years.
Tuesday may have been about 90 minutes to determine a finalist at the World Cup. But those 90 minutes are already echoing throughout history.