Seventh Heaven

Have no fear, the match reports are coming… But during yesterday’s game I just couldn’t keep up with the “live” commentary as the goals kept flooding in. As soon as I started to put together the description of one another would go in, and I found myself running the risk of not actually seeing anything at all. So I decided to put the laptop to one side, watch the match and post the occasional tweet.

Was für ein Spiel!

This wasn’t just a game of football. It was epoch-changing, a cataclysmic shift. When teams are subjected to a massacre like this, nobody will be saying that their opponents “played like Brazil”. Well not any more, anyway.

Germany celebrate in Belo Horizonte, and history is being made. (Agência Brasil / CC-BY-BR-3.0)
Germany celebrate in Belo Horizonte, and history is being made. (Agência Brasil / CC-BY-BR-3.0)

This is not some second-rank nation we are talking about here. This is Brazil, a team that had not been beaten in any competitive match at home for close to forty years. Brazil, five-times World Cup winners. I look at the result, and have to look again and again. It is still scarcely credible, and it will take at least a few days to sink in. 7-1, the biggest semi-final win in the history of the World Cup, against the tournament hosts.

To think that Germany had never beaten Brazil in a competitive match, to score seven against them – I will repeat that: seven, sieben, SIEBEN – was just something else. As DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach would say after the match, it had been football “from another Galaxy”. Remember: this wasn’t Liechtenstein, San Marino or Armenia. This was Brazil. Brazil. Brasilien.

In all my years following the Nationalmannschaft, I have seen some great results. Great players. Trophies. As an eight year old I would see them win the European Championship in 1980. Then, ten years later, would come the World Cup in Italy. In 1996, I would be at Wembley to enjoy Oliver Bierhoff’s Golden Goal to secure a third European title.

But this surpasses all of these.

Let us forget where we are at the moment, and the site you are reading this on. Just forget that I am writing this as an unashamedly biased fan of the German team. Let’s just look at this in pure footballing terms.

On November 25th 1953, England would entertain Hungary at Wembley. On that day, the “Magical Magyars” would tear the home side apart with a display that would change the face of football. Walking away with a stunning 6-3 win against a team that had never been beaten at Wembley by any team from outside the British Isles, it would be a defining moment in the history of the game. For those who would be around to witness the spectacle, Ferenc Puskás, Nándor Hidegkuti and Sándor Kocsis would be names indelibly inked into the memory.

On July 8th 2014 we would see something similar at the Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte. It was enough to watch things unfold on television, but for those who were there it must have been more than magical.

If 1953 had given us the “Magical Magyars”, the summer of 2014 would give us “Dynamic Deutschland”. Perhaps in sixty years time football fans all around the world will be waxing lyrical about these German players. The Titan Manuel Neuer. The diminutive skipper Philipp Lahm. The engine room of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira. The mercurial Toni Kroos. the tireless Thomas Müller. Suber-sub André Schürrle. The record-breaking Miroslav Klose.

Niersbach would sum things up perfectly:

Das Spiel ist jetzt vier Stunden her. Ich möchte allen Beteiligten sagen: Macht mal die Augen zu, lasst es mal sacken – und dann begreift ihr so langsam, was heute passiert ist. Das ist ein historisches Ergebnis, das ist keine Übertreibung. Ihr könnt euren Kindern und Enkelkindern noch in Jahren und Jahrzehnten erzählen: “Damals, 8. Juli 2014, in Belo Horizonte, ich war dabei. 7:1 gegen Brasilien. Noch in Jahrzehnten wird man fragen: Wie war das möglich?”

(The game is now four hours old. I want to say to all involved: close your eyes, let it sink in and slowly understand what happened here today. This is a historic result, and it is no exaggeration. You can tell your children and grandchildren in the coming years and decades: “July 8th 2014 in Belo Horizonte, I was there. 7-1 against Brazil. Decades from now one will ask: how was that possible?”)

Of course, the great Hungarian team that would mesmerise the crowd at Wembley in 1953 would never win the World Cup – stumbling, ironically enough, into an inspired German team the following summer – another defining that would become known as the Miracle of Bern, or Der Wunder von Bern. It is clear now that to truly write themselves into the history books, this current German team has to take this crucial step and claim the golden trophy for themselves.

It naturally follows that as supporters we have must keep our heads firmly screwed on and feet anchored to the ground. This is without doubt a historic moment – capped off by Klose’s record breaking strike – but it will all be for nothing if the team doesn’t finish the job in the Maracanã on Sunday. After that, we can rightly up the ante in the hyperbole stakes.

The debates about the 4-3-3, Lahm in midfield and the composition of the defensive midfield have been forgotten. Now it is time to celebrate quietly, knuckle down and prepare ourselves for the final push. Auf geht’s, Jungs!

Seventh Heaven

2 thoughts on “Seventh Heaven

  • July 9, 2014 at 15:31

    What a game? I’m not going to say much about my feelings, but I am so happy that such a great match has happened during my lifetime.

    On a serious note, this could all become of a lesser value if we don’t win the cup. Although it was a German great victory in 1954, i still felt sorry for Hungary. When Puskas died few years ago, i really thought whether he was thinking of that on his dying bed, I would.

    Klose will go into history, but in few years time, it is likely that Muller will break his record, but what no one can take away is a Gold Medal. It is the best chance for some of those great players. Russia 2018 might be too late, now is the time. Many players in the Dutch team got the same strong motive.

    On a lesser serious note, I tend to sometimes do this silly comparisons to find out who has a better chance. First, I think Netherland will go through. Can we beat them? They struggled against Mexico, and barely made it. Mexico drew with Brazil, but that was with neymar and silva. However, my guess is that even if Neymar and Silva were playing, I think the score would have been 3-1 for Germany at least. Somehow, this is the margin I think we can beat the Dutch with.

    By the way, they lost in finals to Spain, Argentina, and Germany. They have trashed Spain, seems confident to beat Argentina, and hoping to beat Germany, and avenge 74, 78, and 2010.

    If Argentina, we can win, unless Messi produces a few moments of brilliance. Sometimes I worry whether the 1986 would be repeated. It was Maradona and few others, and now it is Messi and few others.

    Germany deserves to win. It is overdue. Go go Germany.

  • July 9, 2014 at 14:05

    Excellently put Rick. I still can’t believe it! I am a Liverpool fan and the Miracle of Istanbul was incredible but this result is up there for me (possibly even more so). The whole team played their part. I thought Khedira was fantastic (as were Schweinsteiger and Kroos also anchoring the midfield/attack). Much has been said about Brazil being poor but let us not take anything away from the Germans. I don’t think any other team would have beaten them by that score. The goals were a joy – each one greeted with a scream 🙂 Btw it was my dad’s birthday. Although he is a Portugal fan (his favourite player was Eusebio) his favourite German player is Özil and he was willing him to make it ‘8’ on his ’80’th birthday (on the 8th 🙂 ) I’m still in shock as well!


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