A semi-final tie against the Germans was always going to be tough. Going up against them without the competition’s Golden Boy, Neymar (injured) and Captain Thiago Silva (suspension), it would have taken something special for Brazil to emerge victorious.
That being said, I strongly doubt anyone expected such an overwhelming disparity between the two sides.
Simply put, the European giants slaughtered the host nation as they handed them the first major competition loss on home soil in over six decades during the 7-1 mauling at the Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte.
Thomas Müller opened proceedings in the 11th minute by calmly slotting in a well-worked corner routine after losing David Luiz amongst the crowd. Miroslav Klose followed suit in the 23rd minute as he took his impressive World Cup goal-scoring tally to a record 16 goals to make it 2-0, in addition to surpassing Brazil’s legendary marksmen, Ronaldo.
And then the floodgates were wide open
Philipp Lahm’s cross from the right wing found its way through the horde of bodies in the penalty area and fell to the grateful feet of Toni Kroos, who unleashed a venomous strike from his supposed weaker left foot. No more than a minute later, he was in a again to make to 4-0 as Fernandinho was stripped of possession 30 yards from his own goal and Sami Khedira was generous enough to lay the ball back for him to put the ball in the net vacated by the scrambling Júlio César.
Keen to get in on the action, Khedira turned goal-scorer on the 29th minute, when Luiz decided to leave his post and go flying in for the ball. Just like that, the tie was settled. The hopes of 200million Brazilians fantasising about seeing their team lift the golden trophy were dead and buried within 30minutes of football.
However, the torture wasn’t over
Despite Luiz Felipe Scolari bringing in Ramires and Paulinho at half-time, they were powerless to stop the bleeding. Chelsea’s André Schürrle added two more goals to make it seven, including a left-footed rocket which flew by César off the crossbar.
Oscar did at least manage to grab a goal for the Seleção, but it can hardly be considered a consolation. It doesn’t do much for the history books as the mighty Brazil suffered the worst loss in their illustrious history. No longer are the 1920 Copa America team that lost 6-0 to Uruguay considered to be the embarrassments of the nation. That undesirable title now belongs to the squad of the 2014.
Juninho Paulista was able to find a silver-lining
“We saw Germany teach us how to play football today,” he said to the BBC.
“We have to learn from that. We have to learn from the seven goals we conceded.
“They played the way we like to play football: Pass. Move. Work without the ball. Get back to defend. Organise yourselves. Win it back. Attack as a unit. We have to learn from that.”
Brazil, a team that has continuously earned our adoration due to the way they play attractive football with such flair and grace, needed to be taught a lesson? The country that has won five World Cups and has been a powerhouse in the game for so many years needed to be taught how to win, and do so in style? Surely that can’t be right.
Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, this was a team missing their two best players. Furthermore, with the talent Scolari had at his disposal, getting to the semi-finals should be considered a success.
Let’s be honest, having a player like Fred leading the front line is a thousand leagues away from having a player like the aforementioned Ronaldo upfront. Although, with Jo as a back-up, or Hulk as a last-resort, what choice does he really have? – Maybe we should lay the blame on Diego Costa on this one for bailing on his homeland.
Having said, this wasn’t about talent. Silva may have been a big miss but they certainly had the ability to fill in for his absence. Luiz was one of the front-runners to be named as the tournament’s best player, while Dante is a mainstay at Bayern Munich, arguably the best club side in the world. As for replacing Neymar, Willian and Bernard are worthy back-ups.
Instead, this humbling loss was more about the team lacking the desire as well as the discipline to win.
At no point in the match did you see a player Brazilian player busting a gut or putting his body on the line to prevent a goal. At no point in the game did you see a Brazilian player taking the game by the scruff of its neck and dictating play. And very rarely did you see a Brazilian player be where he is supposed to be and doing their job.
Luiz, filling in as captain, was supposed to be the one leading by example and leading the troops but, more often than not, he would recklessly go in for challenges and leave huge gaps in defense. That’s also on top of lashing out at Muller in the middle of the park.
Marcelo often ventured upfront but struggled to get back, which also meant the Germans had plenty of attacks from left side. Meanwhile, Luis Gustavo and Fernandinho were almost invisible in the middle of the park.
Fred didn’t do much to justify his manager’s continued faith in him, either. He too failed to make an impact, primarily because his movement was non-existent. He hardly moved to receive the ball in threatening areas to trouble the opposing Jerome Boateng and Mat Hummels, nor did he make runs in behind them to score goals. As such, some of the blame should (and most likely will) go towards Scolari for sticking with him.
All in all, only three of the starting 11 actually had decent outings for Brazil: Julio Ceasar because his defenders hung him out to dry on most (if not all) of the goals; Bernard because he worked tirelessly to try and run on to wayward long balls. Plus he also made several attempts to get at defenders despite the unenviable match-up against Lahm; and Oscar simply because he scored the only goal – otherwise he wasn’t much of a factor.
On the upside, at least the Samba stars have the opportunity to redeem themselves in Saturday’s third-fourth place playoff against the loser of Holland vs Argentina.
Granted it may not be the final they dreamt of, but it’s still a chance to wash away the sour taste of their historically poor performance.
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