It started so well for Brazil. A rousing national anthem had the stadium in Belo Horizonte rocking and a national stood waiting to take its expected place in Sunday’s World Cup Final at the home of soccer, the Maracana stadium in Rio.
But then the referee blew his whistle to start the game and a ruthless German side ripped the heart out of the Brazilian side on their way to a 7-1 victory. Germany were up 5-0 inside the opening 30 minutes and the only reason the score wasn’t higher was because they took their foot of the pedal in the second half.
Two goals for Toni Kroos and Andre Schurrle , plus one each for Thomas Muller, Sami Khedira, and record-breaking 16th World Cup goal for Miroslav Klose saw the visitors delirious, while Brazil begins a period of soul-searching such as never before.
Without the injured Neymar and the suspended Thiago Silva, everyone expected Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to start with three defensive central midfielders to slow down and frustrate Germany. Instead he went with two in central midfield with Hulk and Bernard either side of Oscar and Fred up front. Hulk and Bernard offered no supper to Brazil’s fullbacks Maicon or Marcelo and Germany took advantage of the acres of space in the Brazil defence to run wild.
The most astonishing part of the first half was that Scolari appeared to make no tactical changes. It seemed like he was as shell-shocked as the rest of the nation and unable to offer any changes.
As for Germany this performance had everything that Joachim Loew would have wanted to see. His side were brilliant going forward and when they went ahead in the ford half they kept the pressure on the Brazilian defence and killed the game off. But in the second half they let Brazil back in the game and Manuel Neuer had to make several really good saves to stop Brazil from making the score interesting. That lackadaisical defensive play will give Loew enough ammunition to make sure that the German players don’t get too carried away with the win ahead of the World Cup final on Sunday.