Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, 08.07.2014
Müller 11., Klose 23., Kroos 24., 26., Khedira 29., Schürrle 69., 79. / Oscar 90.
Germany versus Brazil, the ultimate classic. The Nationalmannschaft against the tournament hosts, with a place in the World Cup final at stake. Even before the kick off in Belo Horizonte, everybody knew that this was going to be a classic. They just didn’t know how significant it would be, not just for fans of the German team but footballing history.
Having rejigged his team, adjusted the tactics and overcome tough French team, much of the pressure was off the coach. Before the tournament started, a semi-final finish had been the prediction of many media commentators and pundits; after all, there was no shame in being beaten by the tournament hosts – a team with a well-established history and pedigree.
Brazil were not the world-beaters of old, however. The hosts had major weaknesses, and while the pressure may have lifted from the German team and Jogi Löw, it rested heavy on the Seleção and their coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. Nobody could have predicted how the evening would unfold; it was one of those sporting moments that would live forever in the memory.
When Thomas Müller put the Mannschaft a goal up after just eleven minutes, the immediate thought was to hold the lead. Then, Miroslav Klose doubled the advantage – and, if just to rub it in – claimed Ronaldo’s goal-scoring record for himself with his sixteenth World Cup finals goal. Then a third from Toni Kroos. Second later, Kroos again with a fourth. As the watching world was desperately trying to draw breath, Sami Khedira slammed in number fine. All inside half an hour.
The second half saw the Germans take a bit of a breather before substitute André Schürrle hit numbers six and seven. Seven. Against the hosts. Not just any old hosts, but the mighty Brazil. Brazil, in their own stadium. A team that hadn’t been beaten at home for a year short of four decades.
It was happening right in front of our eyes, but it was almost unreal. A dream.
Mesut Özil could have made it eight, but when the move broke down Brazil finally managed to get something on the board. After this, it would have been a travesty for Germany not to win a fourth World Cup.
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
Man of the Match: Toni Kroos