World Cup 2014: Matchday Twenty Two (Semi-Finals)

Brazil 1 – 7 Germany

In the opening minutes, Brazil seemed eager to have a go, pressing hard, retaining possession for a spell and seeking to make chances to test Neuer. Then Germany got on the ball. Their passes were crisp and efficient. They found the gaps, the targets for through balls, the overlaps. And, when put to the test without Silva at the back to bolster the effort, the Brazilian defence imploded in the face of such German perfection.

Muller peeled away from his marker with ease to sidefoot the first home. Then Klose was worked in to space within the penalty area, getting two shots without molestation to put Germany two up. Kroos then found himself in acres of space on the edge of the penalty area to connect fantastically with a right wing cross for three. Then Kroos was at the end of a flowing move that tore the Brazil back four to pieces, tapping home with little trouble. And then Khedira was on hand at the end of another great passing move to tap home for Germany again.

If you went to the bathroom you might have missed it, it happened so fast and with such ease. Brazil were humiliated utterly, conceding five goals in 30 minutes, the likes of Marcelo and Luiz completely outplayed at the back. Never before have I seen a game at this level proceed in such a manner. The Germans showed no mercy, and then calmly saw out the remainder of the half.

Brazil tried to get into the game a bit in the second, to just try and salvage a bit of pride. They found some gaps in the German defence, which was, perhaps understandably, no longer quite as committed with their concentration. Neuer had to make several fine saves from Oscar and Paulinho as Germany, mindful not to pick up unnecessary suspensions, just stepped off a bit.

But when Germany did go forward, it was still clear who the top dogs were. Schurrle should have got ahead of Cesar for a sixth from Schweinsteiger’s pass, but perhaps some complacency stopped him from getting there. They didn’t have to wait too long though, Schurrle finishing from close range after fine work down the right by Lahm.

Missing Silva at the back meant Brazil couldn’t defend, missing Neymar at the front meant they couldn’t score. And still it did not end, Schurrle slamming home a fine volley, getting on the end of a left wing cross after Luiz had failed to keep up with him. Brazil floundered about, but created next to nothing. Fernandinho, Luiz and Fred seemed at times to not even be on the field. Germany will never have an easier game in a World Cup Finals. And it could have been more. Oscar did slam home a Brazilian goal in injury time, as the German defence barely tried to stop him. It meant nothing.

The Brazilians booed, jeered, cried. It was a destruction to match any that have come before in this sport. Germany were not just the better side: at times it seemed as if they were playing a different sport. The Brazil side that have struggled to make any kind of positive impression in this tournament have only the 3rd/4th Place Play Off to look forward to. Germany have a date with destiny.

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