Germany is receiving all of the plaudits after its 7-1 thumping of host Brazil in Belo Horizonte, but the truth is that Brazil inflicted this humiliation on itself.
World Cup semifinals are almost always very tight and tense affairs. The last time a last-four clash was won by more than one goal in 90 minutes was 28 years ago when Diego Maradona led Argentina to a 2-0 win over Belgium at Mexico ’86.
Before the game, Brazil was the marginal favorite — despite losing its two best players, Neymar and Thiago Silva, to injury and suspension, respectively. It had not lost a competitive game at home since 1975 and with the whole country behind the team, it seemed that nothing could stop the Selecao in their quest for a sixth world title.
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For Germany to not only beat Brazil in its own backyard but to register one of the highest margins of victory at a World Cup is almost impossible to believe.
"That was football from another galaxy," gushed DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach.
But how much credit does Germany really deserve?
Granted, Joachim Low got his tactics spot on with Germany’s pressing and counterattacking picking Brazil apart time and again. Low must also be praised for swallowing his pride after the second round scare against Algeria and restoring Philipp Lahm to his rightful position at full back. The decision to drop Per Mertesacker further tightened the back line.
Germany was ruthless in the attacking third — bringing back memories of the great West German sides of the '70s and '80s when the likes of Gerd Muller, Wolfgang Overath and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge would show opponents no mercy. Thomas Muller and new World Cup record scorer Miroslav Klose certainly fall into a similar category.
But the hard truth is that Brazil was in utter shambles. Sunday League players would be ashamed to perform at such an abominable level.
Germany did not have to work for its goals — they were given to it. David Luiz and Dante may as well have been wearing white shirts, so embarrassing was their defending on almost all of the seven strikes. Fernandinho gifted Toni Kroos his first goal straight from the restart as if it had been pre-planned.
“You have to give Germany credit, but the truth is that it was a woeful, woeful performance from Brazil. In 40 years I have never seen anything like it,” Liverpool legend Alan Hansen, who played against Tele Santana's wonderful Brazil side of Zico, Socrates and Falcao at the 1982 World Cup, told the BBC.
Had the Europeans dismantled an outstanding opponent, then they would deserve every superlative thrown their way. But this is the most talentless Brazil team that has ever appeared at a World Cup.
A Brazil squad with two center forwards: Fred and Jo. A squad with a right back, Maicon, who is so past it that he is left gasping for breath after the first five minutes. A squad with midfielders, like Ramires and Paulinho, who can't even pass the ball 5 yards square. A squad containing reserves from QPR, Napoli and Spurs. A squad that includes a host of subpar players who were picked by Luiz Felipe Scolari solely for personal rather than professional reasons.
Die Mannschaft deserve credit for such a historic result, and this golden generation of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lahm and Klose certainly merits a trophy, but let’s get real — the big story here is that Brazil was an embarrassment.
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