The Beast Awakens: Brazil brushed aside in Belo Horizonte

We’re all set in Belo Horizonte, with Nationaltrainer Joachim Löw keeping things simple and my pre-match tittle-tattle short by naming the same side that had beaten France four days earlier. Confidence is high and the defensive midfield duo fit and up for the challenge, with Bastian Schweinsteiger on particular sounding determined.

Skipper Philipp Lahm has stated clearly that he is not wanting to be involved in another third place playoff, and there is a distinct feeling that this team are coming into this game with the sort of steely determination that was missing from four years ago and the forgettable Euro 2012 semi-final against Italy. No tinkering from the coach, Lahm at right back, and a record-hungry Miroslav Klose up front.

I am naturally nervous as the minutes tick by and the kick off gets ever closer, but I have a good feeling about this one.

For Brazil, the suspended Thiago Silva is replaced with FC Bayern München’s Dante – who faces no fewer that six of his club team mates – while Chelsea’s David Luiz takes the captain’s armband, and the injured Neymar is replaced by the diminutive Bernard.

It’s a pleasant twenty-two degrees Celsius in the Estádio Mineirão, with a light wind. The sun is out, but the conditions are a stark contrast to the more northern venues such as Salvador and Fortaleza. The teams make their way out onto the field for the national anthems, with the Nationalmannschaft in their red and black Auswärtstrikot and the Brazilians in their familiar yellow, blue and white combo.

BBC commentator Steve Wilson has already put me in a bad mood by calling the Nationalhymne “Deutschland über Alles” – and then just moments comparing their black and red hooped shirt kit to the Brazilian club “Flamenco”. Where do they find these guys?

1 min. Germany kick off, and immediately give the ball away allowing Brazil to make their first foray into the German half. With less than a minute on the clock, the home side win their first corner.

2 mins. Oscar swings in the corner, but Jérôme Boateng clears. The Germans look to launch their first attack but Mesut Özil loses his footing and Brazil come forward again.

3 mins. Marcelo has a speculative shot from distance that skids well wide of the target.

4 mins. David Luiz finds Hulk on the left, and his cross towards Bernard is well taken by Manuel Neuer. Germany break but fail to make most of the opportunity. It is been a bit of a wobbly start by Löw’s side.

7 mins. Sami Khedira finds Thomas Müller out on the right, and after a couple of neat interchanges the Real Madrid man has a firm shot that hits team mate Toni Kroos.

11 mins. Khedira shows good poise down the right after robbing a complacent Marcelo, and Germany win their first corner. The ball is swung across the box, and Müller is able to free himself of his marker before stroking it calmly into the bottom right-hand corner past Júlio César with his right foot. It’s the perfect start. 1-0.

Eins. Thomas Müller gets the show on the road, sweeping the ball past Júlio César.

15 mins. After their bright opening spell, the hosts are looking rattled and the Nationalmannschaft are looking increasing comfortable.

17 mins. Marcelo makes his way into the box and is brilliantly challenged by Lahm. Boateng berates the Brazilian for diving and the referee awards a corner to Brazil. The kick is awful however.

19 mins. Brazil move forward and the ball is moved across the field by Maicon to Oscar, but this time left-back Benedikt Höwedes steps in to quash the threat.

21 mins. Klose picks out Müller, but Der Raumdeuter’s shot is a little weak and the ball is easily collected by César.

23 mins. Kroos is in acres of space on the left, and finds the marauding Müller who darts inside the box from the right. Müller has a sight of goal, but unselfishly taps it into the path Klose who is primed to shoot. The thirty-six year old’s first shot is blocked by César, but he makes no mistake from the rebound with that lethal right foot. It’s a typical close-range strike from the arch-poacher, and a record-breaking sixteenth goal in World Cup finals – one ahead of Brazil’s Ronaldo. 2-0.

Zwei. The history maker: Miroslav Klose celebrates Germany’s second goal, and his sixteenth in World Cups.

24 mins. There’s no time to draw breath here, let alone type a minute-by-minute action report without missing anything. A Brazil attack sees Bernard foolishly attempt to charge Neuer and ends up on the floor for his pains, and moments later the ball is in the back of César’s net for a third time. Özil’s neat ball finds Lahm who breaks down the right looking for Müller inside the penalty area, but the ball is a little behind him. The German number thirteen deflects the ball towards the edge of the box where the unmarked Kroos is waiting. With a clean swing of his left foot, the ball is sent crashing on the half-volley into the bottom left-hand corner of the Brazilian net. 3-0.

Drei. The ball falls nicely to Toni Kroos, who smashes Germany’s third on the volley.

26 mins. Can this get any better? Brazil are being taken apart now. A lazy Fernandinho is caught dilly-dallying in his own half by the busy and alert Kroos, who slips the ball to Khedira to his left. After the sweetest of return passes from the Real Madrid man Kroos has the goal at his mercy and strokes it home with ease with his right foot from just under twelve yards. It’s two goals in just over a minute from the FC Bayern midfielder, and the game is surely all over now. 4-0.

Vier. Sixty-nine seconds after his first goal, Kroos slots home his second and the Nationalmannschaft’s fourth. It’s like a Sunday park game now.

27 mins. The cameras are flitting to distraught Brazilian fans in the crowd now, many of whom are visible shocked with some in tears already. We wanted a solid start, but 4-0 after twenty-six minutes? 4-0? Against Brazil? Amazing stuff.

29 mins. Wahnsinn! Hummels barrels through the middle of the pitch and the ball breaks nicely for Khedira, who finds Özil to his left with a perfectly-timed pass. Drawing the yellow-shirted defenders in, Özil’s return ball is delightful, and Khedira has plenty of time to lean back and send the ball low in to the bottom left-hand corner of the net from fourteen yards out. César has no change, and a crazy spell that has seen four goals in the space of six minutes has surely put the Mannschaft out of sight now. It has truly been an amazing team effort, but Khedira has deserved that goal. 5-0.

Fünf. Sami Khedira gets in on the act after some more great buildup play, A crisp swing of the right boot, and it’s 5-0. 5-0!

32 mins. They just keep on coming, like a black and blood-red wave. Looking for his hat-trick, the now irrepressible Kroos has a crack from distance that flies just wide of the left post.

36 mins. Perhaps its time for a little breather now before ratcheting things up another gear and going after number six.

42 mins. Brazil are an absolute shambles, their coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is looking more like Scowlari as he wanders around the bench, and the Germans have plenty of space to relax as the clock ticks down towards half time.

45+1 mins. The Mexican referee blows for half-time.

The Brazilian team are desperate to get off the pitch as the home crowd subjects them to a barrage of boos, jeers and whistles. They have nothing offered up front with the dismal Fred being specifically targeted by the home crowd, and their defence has been nothing short of shambolic against a German side that have looked smooth and relaxed with a series of neat passing moves – and plenty of unselfishness. Everybody has played their part in what had been an almost perfect display so far. Is there going to be another Sweden scenario? I don’t think so somehow.

You wouldn’t believe that this is a World Cup semi-final, as it is looking like a training ground outing for Jogi’s Jungs. The four-goal burst will surely love in the memory of every German supporter, and they will surely be looking to add to their tally in the second half.

There’s a change for Germany as Per Mertesacker replaces Mats Hummels, probably to rest the number five for a certain game in Rio on Sunday. Meanwhile Brazil also make two changes, with Paulinho and Ramires replacing the woeful Fernandinho and Hulk – who has spent much of the first forty-five minutes looking like Bruce Banner.

46 mins. The traumatised home side get things underway. They will surely be wishing for these forty-five minutes to pass quickly so they can make a hasty escape and look forward to the third place play off.

48 mins. Given that they are on a hiding to nothing, A Seleção make a concerted attempt to attack the German goal. Fred goes down limply under a challenge from Mertesacker, and the excellent Mr. Rodríguez waves play on.

50 mins. Fred and Ramires combine to set up Oscar, but the attack is easily quelled by Neuer, who probably feels that he is missing out on all of the fun with nothing much to do.

52 mins. There’s a jittery moment for the German defence as Oscar gets another shot on goal, but Neuer responds brilliantly and the ball is cleared behind for a Brazilian corner.

53 mins. If Neuer thought he might have been left out of the game, he is clearly in it now. Oscar dinks the ball neatly into the path of substitute Paulinho, whose effort is knocked away by the German ‘keeper. The Brazilian substitute is first to the rebound and his second effort is struck even firmer, but Neuer will just not be beaten as he gets everything behind it to beat the ball away.

55 mins. The change in the middle of the defence has upset things just a little for Jogi Löw’s side, and Neuer has again had a chance to show why he has been rated as the top Torhüter in the competition.

58 mins. Brazilian continue to press. A pass from Bernard finds its way to Fred, whose weak effort is easily collected by Neuer. Meanwhile, the record-breaker Klose is replaced by André Schürrle.

60 mins. César does well to deny Müller as he pushed the ball behind, and from the resulting corner Der Raumdeuter launches a stunning left-footed effort that is heading for the top left corner of the net before being brilliantly tipped over by the beleaguered Brazilian ‘keeper.

62 mins. Maicon suggests why the second syllable of his name needs extra emphasis as he commits an awful dive in looking for a penalty. Brazil have played a whole lot better since the break, but their desperation is both tragic and comic.

65 mins. A mistake by the woeful David Luiz leads to a beautiful move on the counter that almost sees Müller find Schürrle in space, but César is quickly off his line to get there before the Chelsea winger.

68 mins. Dante is booked for a brainless foul on FC Bayern München team mate Müller.

69 mins. Forty minutes without a goal is more than enough, so here we go again. Lahm and Khedira move smoothly down the right flank, and the German skipper’s lovely low cross from inside the box is perfectly placed for Schürrle to side-foot home from twelve yards. The Brazilian defence has once again been sliced open, and the substitute delivers a killer finish. It’s six. That’s right. SIX! 6-0. For what it’s worth, Scolari makes his final change as Fred is replaced by Willian. It’s the ultimate insult for the striker, who is jeered by the home crowd as he trudges off the pitch.

Sechs. There’s a bit of a wait for number six, and after another training ground move André Schürrle has the easiest of tap-ins.

70 mins. Schurrle’s goal has equalled one record and broken another. The six goal margin equals Brazil’s biggest-ever defeat against Uruguay in 1920, and is also Germany’s 222nd goal in World Cup finals, one ahead of their hosts.

72 mins. Poor Fred. The camera flashes on him, eliciting a volley of jeers.

76 mins. The excellent Khedira is given a rest after what has been a monumental performance. His replacement is Schalke 04’s Julian Draxler, who makes his first appearance at the tournament.

79 mins. Müller sees the fast-advancing Schürrle to his left, and lifts a delicious reverse pass back over the Brazilian defence. Schürrle brings the ball down brilliantly with his right foot and lashes the ball brilliantly past César with his left from the left corner of the six-yard box, with the shot slamming off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net. Number two for Schürrle, and number seven for Germany. 7-0.

Sieben. The Nationalelf are in seventh heaven as Schürrle slams in number seven, possibly the best of the lot.

83 mins. A number of home supporters have left the stadium, but those that remain are graciously cheering the German players with each pass being met with a rousing olé.

85 mins. Ramires has a pop at goal from outside the box. Easy for Neuer.

88 mins. A teasing looping ball sent across the width of the pitch is completely missed by Marcelo, and Schürrle is able to ruin towards goal. His attempted cross back into the box is cut out by Luis Gustavo at the expense of a German corner.

89 mins. Oscar makes his way to the byline and tries his luck from an almost impossible angle and the ball flies off for a throw. Brazil quickly regain possession, but Bernard’s speculative effort is well over the target.

90 mins. A Brazilian move breaks down, and Germany break quickly again. Özil is sent clear by Draxler out on the left, and makes his way inside towards the Brazilian goal. With the yellow-shirted defence defence all over the place goal number eight is there for the taking, but Özil’s run is not matched by his finish. The ball skids a couple of yards wide of the target, and perhaps even more infuriatingly Schürrle is in acres of space to the Arsenal man’s right.

90+1 mins. César gets rid of the ball quickly, and Brazil suddenly find space in the German half. Marcelo’s ball from the halfway line finds Oscar, who cuts inside Boateng before lifting the ball over Neuer to score a meaningless consolation. Nevertheless, Neuer is apoplectic at seeing his clean sheet sullied, and berates his defenders. Brazil need six more in two minutes of stoppage time to take things to an extra half an hour. 7-1.

90+3 mins. This amazing match comes to an end. There are tears on the pitch and in the stands, and even some looks of bemusement among the smiling German players who are still probably trying to grasp what they have actually achieved.

Germany have won 7-1 in what has to gone down as one of the most memorable World Cup matches in recent history, and are through to their eighth final – equal with… Brazil. Having been guilty in previous matches of not converting their chances, this has been Germany at their clinical best. The beast has been awakened, and Brazil have simply been brushed aside.

It has been an amazing afternoon in Belo Horizonte, and the world has surely witnessed one of those football matches that will forever be burned into the memory with a number of records being broken over the course of the ninety minutes. Of these, the most significant has to be Miroslav Klose’s sixteenth strike to take him to the summit of the all-time World Cup goalscorers’ list.

Germany are now the most prolific team in the history of the tournament with 223 goals – a remarkable achievement given that they have only played in seventeen of the twenty tournaments since 1930, three fewer than Brazil. The 7-1 win is also the biggest margin of victory in any World Cup semi-final, eclipsing a number of 6-1 results including the Mannschaft’s own thumping of neighbours Austria in 1954. It is Brazil’s biggest-ever defeat, and the biggest beating handed out to any of the twenty tournament hosts.

It goes on. The gap of sixty-nine seconds between Toni Kroos’ two goals is also a tournament record, as is the four goals scored in six minutes and five scored in twenty-nine.

The most important game of the competition is yet to come – the one that will win Germany that coveted fourth star – but without any shadow of doubt this has to rank as one of the greatest moments in my thirty-four years as a supporter of the Nationalmannschaft – even more than the 1996 European Championship at Wembley when I was among the crowd.

The story of Brazil’s 2-1 defeat to Uruguay in the World Cup final in 1950 at the Maracanã – the so-called Maracanaço – has clearly been superseded. There is a new story now, with the afternoon and early evening of July 8th 2014 marking a fin de siècle for A Seleção.

In terms of the result and the context of the match, it arguably ranks alongside Hungary’s famous 6-3 win over England at Wembley in 1953. I am unlikely to see anything like this again in my lifetime, and one has to wonder what it was like for those German supporters in the ground. Truly magical.

Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte (Semi-Final) 08.07.2014

7-1 (5-0)
Müller 11., Klose 23., Kroos 24., 26., Khedira 29., Schürrle 69., 79. / Oscar 90.

Germany: Neuer – Lahm (c), Boateng, Hummels (46. Mertesacker), Höwedes – Schweinsteiger, Khedira (76. Draxler) – Kroos, Özil, Müller – Klose (58. Schürrle)

Brazil: Júlio César – Maicon, David Luiz (c), Dante, Marcelo – Luiz Gustavo – Fernandinho (46. Paulinho) – Hulk (46. Ramires), Oscar, Bernard – Fred (69. Willian)

Referee: Marco Antonio Rodríguez (Mexico)
Assistants: Marvin Torrentera, Marcos Quintero (Mexico)
Fourth Official: Mark Geiger (United States)
Fifth Official: Mark Sean Hurd (United States)

Yellow Cards: – / Dante 68.
Red Cards: – / –

Ball Possession: 48% / 52%
Attempts on Target: 12 / 13
Attempts off Target: 2 / 5
Corners: 5 / 7
Fouls Committed: 14 / 11

Attendance: 58,141

Man of the Match: Toni Kroos

The Beast Awakens: Brazil brushed aside in Belo Horizonte
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3 thoughts on “The Beast Awakens: Brazil brushed aside in Belo Horizonte

  • July 27, 2014 at 08:49

    Every time I pass a grocery store with 7Up bottles/cans now, I think of this game. Happened just yesterday……

    Actually in the Berliner Zeitung I found an intersting quote from Toni Kroos, on the pitch he noticed that the Brazilian’s eyes emptytied and noticed their nervousness, so he went forward and took over the game in midfield and scored the goals. He remembered the #GERSWE game (4:4) (yep, exactly this one with Zlatan on the pitch) when he experienced the same nervousness and anxiety. You can say he and the others did something against it!

  • July 10, 2014 at 10:49

    Another excellent write up Rick. It was as good reading it as watching it! I love the line “Hulk – who has spent much of the first forty-five minutes looking like Bruce Banner.” Priceless!!

    I also loved it when Bernard tried to rough up Neuer only to bounce onto the floor!

    I just watched the Arg-Ned pre-penalty & post-match discussions on ITV (which I usually avoid like the plague). Adrian Chiles is an absolute disgrace. The man clearly has a chip on his shoulder regarding Germany. Trying to play up the Dutch & Argentinian teams for the final on Sunday…He is clearly no fan of ‘football’. I wondered whether I had watched the same game as him. He was practically appealing desperately to dinosaur Martin O’Neill for Argentina winning on Sunday. And Martin O’Neill referring to ‘Julius Caesar’ in goal for Brazil 😀
    It was good to hear Lee Dixon say that Germany were absolutely brilliant.

    Of course we have to keep our feet on the ground but other than Messi performing a ‘Maradona in ’86’ I cannot see how Argentina can defeat us. If anything, the scenario resembles the ’90 game in Rome – in that even Maradona could not stop that ’90 German side.

    • July 10, 2014 at 11:16

      Thanks Mark!

      I think the on the spot observations are always best… And as I say in my introduction as a unashamedly biased fan (one not hamstrung by journalistic sterility) I will usually jump at the chance to ridicule the opposition. OK, Hulk was as easy target and it would have been even funnier if Bernard was called “Barney” – which would have given us Fred and Barney.

      I think most serious observers have long concluded that Chiles is an imbecile, and should be lumped off back to breakfast television (or wherever he came from) forthwith. I agree that Dixon was the most balanced contributor by far. The “Julius Caesar” moment was, well, a cringeworthy classic moment!

      I too cannot see how Argentina can win this game – preview coming soon – but stranger things have happened. If we get an early goal, we’ll kill them. There is no need for an “anti-Messi” plan as the German midfield should nullify him as a matter of course. The potential danger was always going to be di Maria vs Höwedes, but with the former out of the tournament I cannot see any real threats in store.

      The danger is that they’ll shut up shop and park a great big albiceleste bus – they have only scored six goals in their six matches, but by the same token have only conceded three – which could make life difficult. Think of Bayern v Chelsea in 2012.

      1990 is a pretty good comparison, but it was clear by then that Maradona was in serious decline. I don’t think the same can be said of Messi who can still pull something special out of his… Locker.


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