I think I might be cursed in the knockout stage. My beloved Uruguay was knocked out by Colombia in the round of 16. I switched alliegances, choosing to follow the exciting Colombians as they took on the hosts in the quarter-finals… they lost 2-1. Finally, mostly because of my distaste for Germany and so that my maternal grandfather could stop being ashamed of me from the great beyond, I sided with Brazil in their semi-final match up with Ze Germans. What did Brazil do for me? They went out and got crushed 7-1, in one of the most shocking results in World Cup history.
Things started out OK for Brazil, in that they didn’t allow any goals in the first ten minutes and even had a couple of forward attacks by Hulk and Oscar. At eleven minutes, Thomas Müller broke through for Germany (isn’t he the worst?), notching his 10th career World Cup goal in just his 12th career match in the big tournament. OK, babies! It wasn’t the end of the world, right? Brazil just needed to gather their composure and come back with an equalizer, and they’d be right back in business. If they could rally around the spirit of Neymar, they’d be alright… right? Wrong.
Müller celebrates his opening goal.
At 23 minutes, Miroslav Klose (pictured at the top) put his own rebound back past a sprawled out Júlio Cesár to become the most prolific goal scorer in World Cup history. That’s right. He broke Ronaldo’s record…In Ronaldo’s home country…Against Ronaldo’s old team. Talk about making a statement. For the next six minutes, I thought ESPN was just showing replays of Klose’s goal. One replay. Two replays. You know? This is a lot of replays, no? I mean, I get it. Klose broke the record. It’s a big deal, but come on now. That’s enough. Wait what? They weren’t replays? No. They were not. As tears rolled down the cheeks of thousands of the Brazilians in attendance at Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, Germany had managed to score four goals in just six minutes: Toni Kroos scored in the 24th and 26th minutes and Sami Khedira put one past Cesár in the 29th.
I’d never seen anything like it in my life. Sure, I’ve seen blowouts, but not with Brazil on the losing end. Personally, I thought the game ended after Klose exorcised the ghost of Ronaldo (I know he’s not dead, but that’s a good line) with the second German goal. After that, you could see the Brazilian players give up one by one. The passion that seemed to burst from them as the players joined the thousands in attendance in singing the Brazilian anthem before the match (a very cool thing if you haven’t seen or read about it), all but disappeared. They stopped both attacking and defending, and the German machine jumped down their throats.
Cesár never stood a chance in this game.
Brazil showed a little life early in the second half, but a couple of excellent saves by Manuel Neuer zapped all the gumption right back out of them. They stopped attacking and defending again, and German sub André Schürrle tapped home two more goals. Kudos to Mesut Özil, who could have made it 8-0 late, but only fired off a half-hearted shot that, although it beat Cesár, went wide right. Interestingly enough, Bastian Schweinsteiger basically ate Özil’s lunch about that miss for the next five minutes or so that were left in the game, proving to the world that he’s extremely German. Off of that miss, Brazil managed to avoid a shutout, as Oscar netted home the last goal of the game. Not to be outdone by Schweinsteiger, Neurer then out-Germaned his teammate by yelling at the defense for their soft coverage of Oscar… This is why I didn’t want Germany to win.
We all know that Germany is heading off to play the winner of tomorrow’s clash between Holland and Argentina, but where does Brazil go from here? I know they were missing both Neymar and Thiago Silva, and I made the “Neymar and the Gang” joke in previous posts, but did anyone ever think they’d get crushed quite like this? The team Brazil fielded looked like they’d never even met each other, let alone played a team sport together for the last couple of years. Was it bad coaching? Bad play? Was it all Fred‘s fault, as the crowd seemed to have decided about 35 minutes into this game? (seriously, how bad do you feel for him? He couldn’t touch the ball without the boo birds and whistlers taunting him unmercifully)
It was all over but the cryin’ for David Luiz and Brazil.
I think it was a combination of things. For one, Brazil was overhyped. I, and my soccer blogging community friends, have said all along that they weren’t very good. They looked beatable in every game except for the match up against Colombia, and that was with Neymar and Silva on the pitch. When injury and suspension removed their two big name guys, that was all she wrote. They never should have won this game, even with those two, but they should still be ashamed at the way they played. There were times when Cesár was literally the only guy trying to stop Germany from scoring. As for Fred, I think we all know he’s not very good. He shouldn’t have been on this team, let alone on the field as the only striker when this game began. The guy had the tournament of his life at last year’s Confederations Cup, but coach Felipe Scolari had to know that was it for his man. I don’t want to harp on the coaching too much, but Scolari didn’t exactly put in a stellar performance himself.
This game was a disaster all-around for Brazil, and it’s one that will either break this team, or fuel their fire to win it all in Russia four years from now. I think some top-to-bottom personnel changes will have to be made before that has a chance of happening, though.
Wow. I guess… let’s go Argentina?
Featured image courtesy of: Getty Images
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