Fifa World Cup 2014 semifinal: Brazil in state of shock after Germany blitzkrieg
The nation whose attacking soccer has thrilled the world for generations was left heart-broken on Tuesday after Brazil's humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals.
Brazil has hosted one of the most memorable World Cups ever but the country's dream of winning on home soil was not the only thing shattered by a ruthless Germany in an extraordinary match in Belo Horizonte.
The South American country's pride took a battering as the carnival atmosphere that had swept over the samba nation gave way to a state of shock and disbelief following Brazil's heaviest ever international defeat.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari issued a heart-felt apology to a country that had spent more than $11 billion to host the World Cup and invested its heart and soul in making the tournament a success.
"My message for the Brazilian people is this. Please excuse us for this performance," he said.
"I'm sorry that we weren't able to get to the final - and we're going to try to win the third place match. We still have something to play for."
Germany played superbly but were aided by a woeful Brazilian defence, which conceded five goals in a devastating 18-minute burst in the first half.
An unmarked Thomas Mueller got the first from a corner after 11 minutes before Miroslav Klose struck to become the World Cup's all-time leading scorer with 16 goals.
Toni Kroos grabbed two in three minutes before Sami Khedira added a fifth in the 29th minute as boos rang out around the Mineirao stadium and young children in the crowd started to cry.
German substitute Andre Schuerrle struck twice more late in the second half before Oscar scored a last-minute goal that was of little consolation to the five-times world champions, who had waited 64 years to try to bury the ghost of their 1950 final home defeat by Uruguay.
"I just wanted to make my people happy," said a sobbing Brazil defender David Luiz.
"Unfortunately, we couldn't. I'm sorry, I'm sorry to all Brazilians, I just wanted to see them smile, everyone knows how important it was."
Germany have the chance to win the World Cup for the fourth time when they play the winners of Wednesday's semi-final between Argentina and the Netherlands in Sunday's final in Rio de Janeiro.
Many fans at Copacabana Beach, who had been happily singing and dancing with excitement before the game, left the planned party before halftime.
"Five goals in 18 minutes. It's clear that they were shocked and didn't know what to do," Germany coach Joachim Loew said.
"We played well in the first half obviously. But it continues. We need to be humble. We don't want to overvalue this."
Germany's win came exactly 24 years to the day since their last World Cup triumph in 1990, when they beat Argentina in the final.
They lost to Brazil in the 2002 final and were knocked out in the semi-finals when they hosted the tournament in 2006.
"We had great hopes in 2006 too and you can feel the pressure that the hosts have in a match like this," Loew said.
"All 200 million people here want you to get to the final. That can cause your players to tighten up. I feel sorry for him (Scolari). I think I know how he feels."
Germany inflicted the most shocking result in World Cup history when they crushed hosts Brazil 7-1 in a semi-final that brought grief to millions of home fans and caused utter astonishment around the world on Tuesday.
The inspired Germans scored five goals in 18 first-half minutes to re-write the record books as Brazil's defence caved in to leave their dreams of a sixth world title in tatters.
It was Brazil's record World Cup defeat, their first at home in 64 competitive matches since 1975 and was the first time they had lost by six goals in any match since Uruguay beat them 6-0 in the Copa America in 1920.
It was also the biggest ever victory in a World Cup semi-final and German striker Miroslav Klose became the tournament's highest scorer of all time with his 16th World Cup goal to move one clear of Brazilian Ronaldo.
The only survivor in either squad from the 2002 World Cup final when Brazil beat Germany in Yokohama, the 36-year-old Klose can add to that record when Germany aim to become world champions for the fourth time against Argentina or the Netherlands in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
The defeat ended Brazil's dreams of winning a first World Cup on home soil to bury the ghost of their 1950 final defeat by Uruguay which entered Brazilian culture as the "Maracanazo" the tragedy of the Maracana.
This defeat can just as easily be described as the "Mineirazo", although this humiliation was far worse.
After a brief 10-minute spell when Brazil looked dangerous down the left flank, they began wobbling when Thomas Mueller opened the scoring after 11 minutes when he stole away from his marker David Luiz and volleyed home.
Germany, playing neat passing football, quickly took the upper hand.
Brazil, without injured forward and talisman Neymar but more importantly defender and captain Thiago Silva at the back, wilted.
"I guess it was a very impressive match and I think from the first minute we had the impression something was possible," Germany's man of the match Toni Kroos told reporters after scoring two goals.
"From the first minutes we realised the Brazilians were a bit upset, they were not so clear in their reactions.
"It's hard to believe we were 5-0 up so quickly, but I was there, I know what happened. It is obvious to us that we delivered a marvellous performance. If somebody had said before we were going to win 7-1 I would not have believed them. We're not world champions yet. This was the feeling in the dressing room."
Brazil defender Davis Luiz was in tears after the game.
"I just wanted to make my people happy," Luiz said. "Unfortunately, we couldn't. I'm sorry, I'm sorry to all Brazilians, I just wanted to see them smile, everyone know how important it was.
"They were the best, they prepared better, they played better, we let in four goals in six minutes. It is a very sad day and we we'll learn from it."
The German fans were still in the Mineirao more than an hour after the match ended, cheering and raising the level when the German players came out to greet them.
No one had predicted such a scoreline.
Brazil had concerns about the loss of Neymar and Thiago Silva and Germany had looked solid on their way to the last four, but after their opening 4-0 win over Portugal they only scored only six goals in their next four matches.
After Mueller gave them the lead, however, the floodgates rapidly opened with four goals in six minutes.
Klose made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute with his record-breaking goal after smacking in a rebound off goalkeeper Julio Cesar, Kroos scored with a sweet shot and the midfielder struck again to make it 4-0. Sami Khedira added the fifth before halftime after a smart one-two with Mesut Ozil.
To their credit, Brazil rallied at the start of the second and forced a series of saves from Germany keeper Manuel Neuer before Germany substitute Andre Schuerrle struck after 69 and 79 minutes.
The hosts' only reward on a day that belonged entirely to Germany was Oscar's last-minute consolation goal, a sad footnote to a stunning defeat.
Brazil 1 (Oscar 90") Germany 7 (Mueller 11" Klose 22" Kroos 24", 26" Khedira 29" Schuerrle 69" 79")
90" GOAL! Brazil get their consolation goal as Oscar finds the net after a breakaway moments after Ozil shoots wide at the other end.
89" Oscar is through but fires across goal from a tight angle.
85" A good effort from Ramires is collected by Neuer as Brazil are denied the consolation goal.
81" This is Brazil's worst ever defeat eclipsing their 6-0 loss to Uruguay in the 1920 Copa America.
Brazil 0 Germany 7 (Mueller 11" Klose 22" Kroos 24", 26" Khedira 29" Schuerrle 69" 79")
79" GOAL! Schuerrle also gets a double and Germany's seventh firing into the roof of the net after surging through on the left.
76" Khedira makes way for Draxler.
74" Paulinho fails to beat Neuer after Willian weaves his way through.
71" Fred is finally replaced by Willian.
Brazil 0 Germany 6 (Mueller 11" Klose 22" Kroos 24", 26" Khedira 29" Schuerrle 69")
69" GOAL! Schuerrle rattles goal number six past Cesar after a fine cross from Lahm.
67" Cesar comes to the rescue after advancing out of his area to foil Mueller.
64" Dante prevents Muller's cross from finding Schurrle.
61" Mueller nearly makes it 6-0 after running into space before being foiled by Cesar who makes a brilliant finger tip save from the ensuing corner.
59" Boos are heard as Fred hits a weak shot from the top of the box to Neuer.
58" Klose makes way for Schuerrle.
55" Neuer makes some super saves off a couple of stinging shots from Paulinho.
51" Neuer makes a fine save after Ramires is through and attempts to cut back to Oscar with the goal at his mercy.
50" Brazil are attacking with Bernard crossing with Neuer collecting easily.
48" Fred goes down easily followed by Oscar as Brazil look for penalties.
46" Brazil have a mountain to climb as they get the second half under way.
Scolari has made two changes at the break with Ramires and Paulinho coming on for Hulk and Fernandinho while Mertesacker replaces Hummels in the German defence.
Brazil 0 Germany 5 (Mueller 11" Klose 22" Kroos 24", 26" Khedira 29")
Rampant Germany scored five goals within 18 minutes to surge 5-0 ahead of shell-shocked hosts Brazil at halftime in a truly astonishing World Cup semi-final on Tuesday.
Thomas Mueller put the Germans ahead after 11 minutes with a simple volley from a corner and they doubled the lead after in the 23rd when striker Miroslav Klose struck to become the World Cup's all-time leading scorer with 16 goals.
Toni Kroos grabbed the third a minute later and the midfielder scored again in the 26th before Sami Khedira added a fifth as the shambolic Brazil defense caved in yet again just before the half hour.
As Brazil fans sobbed in the stands and millions of people around the world stared at their televisions in utter disbelief, the hosts kept the Germans out for the rest of the half but their dreams of a sixth World Cup title are surely over.
42" Oscar's shot is blocked after a fine through ball from Luiz.
38" Ozil's free-kick sails well over the cross bar.
35" Kroos nearly gets a first-half hat-trick being just wide after Luiz nicks it.
Brazil 0 Germany 5 (Mueller 11" Klose 22" Kroos 24", 26" Khedira 29")
29" GOAL! Khedira gets his name on the scoresheet with Brazil's defence in shambles.
Brazil 0 Germany 4 (Mueller 11" Klose 22" Kroos 24" 26")
26" GOAL! Kroos makes it 4-0 after Khedira's cutback.
Brazil 0 Germany 3 (Mueller 11" Klose 22" Kroos 24")
24" GOAL! Kroos fires past Cesar to make it 3-0.
Germany win the ball in the Brazilian hallf and Ozil, Klose, and Khedira break forward. Ozil squares it to Khedira
Brazil 0 Germany 2 (Mueller 11" Klose 22")
22" GOAL! Klose gets goal No.16 breaking Brazilian Ronaldo's World Cup record driving home his rebound after Cesar saved his snap shot.
Germany are in Kroos control to go 4-0 up after 26 minutes.
17" Marcelo and Boateng have an argument after the Brazilian is brought down in the area by Lahm and appeals for a penalty which is not given.
16" Maicon finds space down the right but Hummels blocks the full-back's cross.
13" Brazil respond instantly with Hulk bursting on the left but his delivery is poor.
Brazil 0 Germany 1 (Mueller 11')
11" GOAL! Mueller has stunned Brazil by firing in a corner to put Germany ahead.
An unmarked Mueller volleys home a Kroos corner for his fifth goal of the tournament into the back post past Cesar.
7" Germany break and Khedira fires Ozil's pass against the back of Kroos who was standing inside the Brazil area.
4" Hulk got away from Lahm on the left and nearly finds Brazil in the box but Neuer collects.
3" Marcelo fires the first salvo with his left-foot shot from 30 yards wide of the far post.
2" Fernandindo wins an early corner for Brazil which is taken by Oscar and headed away by a defender.
1" Germany get us under way at Belo Horizonte.
Brazil are wearing their famous yellow shirts with their traditional blue shorts while Germany are wearing a thick black and dark red stripes colour.
Here we go with the national anthems with Daviz Luiz holding the No.10 jersey of Neymar.
David Luiz will be leading Brazil as Thiago Silva is suspended for today's game after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament against Colombia.
He has played in every minute of Brazil's march to the semi-finals, scoring two goals.
Klose will play his 23rd World Cup match, equalling Paolo Maldini on second place on most World Cup matches. Only Lothar Matthäus (25) has more.
Brazil (103) and Germany (105) have played the most World Cup matches, but this is only their second meeting at the World Cup following the 2002 final.
Luiz Felipe Scolari will coach his third semifinal match at a World Cup, which is a new all-time record.
Bernard comes into the starting XI in place of the injured Neymar and Dante for the suspended Brazil captain Thiago Silva.
Luis Gustavo returns from his suspension and he takes the place of Paulinho in midfield in the third and final change from the side that beat Colombia 2-1.
Germany have retained the same X1 that edged past France to win 1-0.
Teams for Tuesday's 2014 World Cup semi-final match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao stadium, Belo Horizonte.
Brazil: 12-Julio Cesar; 6-Marcelo, 23-Maicon, 13-Dante, 4-David Luiz; 17-Luiz Gustavo, 5-Fernandinho, 20-Bernard, 11-Oscar, 7-Hulk; 9-Fred
Substitutes: 1-Jefferson, 2-Daniel Alves, 3-Thiago Silva, 8-Paulinho, 10-Neymar, 14-Maxwell, 15-Henrique, 16-Ramires, 18-Hernanes, 19-Willian, 21-Jo, 22-Victor
Germany: 1-Manuel Neuer; 16-Philipp Lahm; 20-Jerome Boateng; 5-Mats Hummels; 4-Benedikt Hoewedes; 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger; 6-Sami Khedira; 18-Toni Kroos; 8-Mesut Ozil; 13-Thomas Mueller, 11-Miroslav Klose
Substitutes: 2-Kevin Grosskreutz, 3-Matthias Ginter, 9-Andre Schuerrle, 10-Lukas Podolski, 12-Ron-Robert Zieler, 14-Julian Draxler, 15-Erik Durm, 17-Per Mertesacker, 19-Mario Goetze, 21-Shkodran Mustafi, 22-Roman Weidenfeller, 23-Chrisoph Kramer
Referee: Marco Rodriguez (Mexico)
Germany will meet tough-tackling Brazil head-on when football's titans clash in Tuesday's World Cup semi-final with the host nation desperate to win the title for injured superstar Neymar.
Joachim Loew's Germany want to avenge their 2002 final defeat to Brazil by knocking the hosts out in Belo Horizonte to reach Sunday's final in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil are forced into a reshuffle without play-maker Neymar and suspended captain Thiago Silva as they look to realise dreams of a sixth title on the home soil of the Maracana.
The entire nation laments Neymar's misfortune after the 22-year-old fractured a vertebrae in Friday's uncompromising quarter-final win over Colombia, but the Germans wish he was fit to face them.
"It's always better when the opponent have all their best players, besides it'll bring the (Brazil) team together and they'll want to win the title for him (Neymar)," said Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Brazil paid the price for their rough treatment handed out to James Rodriguez as Colombia met fire-with-fire before Juan Zuniga's challenge on Neymar left the Selecao star in hospital.
"Neymar sets the standard for us. He is capable of deciding any game, so playing without him will be difficult," said Willian.
"We know the quality that we have. We are all very sad at losing him but we are now even stronger after what happened and we can continue to pursue our dream."
The 25-year-old Chelsea midfielder or Bernard are prime candidates to replace Neymar against Germany.
Schweinsteiger kicked off the mind games on Sunday by insisting the referee must pay close attention to the Selecao, who made 59 fouls in the last two matches, compared to the Germans 29 in the same period.
"The Brazilians here aren't the magicians of old, the team has changed and so has their playing style," said Schweinsteiger.
"Hard challenges are definitely a part of their game, it's something we have to be careful of and the referee too."
Remarkably for two World Cup powerhouses with 24 semi-final appearances between them, this will be just their second meeting in the competition after the 2002 final.
"It's an honour and a challenge to play against the hosts, but it have would be better to play Brazil in the final," said Schweinsteiger.
"It doesn't matter how much experience you have, to play the hosts in this football-crazy country is something special."
Having already equalled Brazil legend Ronaldo's record of 15 goals at World Cup finals, veteran Germany striker Miroslav Klose can become the competitions' sole top-scorer by netting against Brazil.
The 36-year-old started up front in Germany's 1-0 win over France in the quarter-finals with Thomas Mueller switched to the wing.
With Silva set to miss out, Germany could well face Brazilian centre-back Dante, which could help both sides, according to his Bayern Munich team-mate Schweinsteiger.
"I hope he starts, we know him very well and know his strengths and weaknesses, but he also knows how we play," said Schweinsteiger.
Germany are desperate to end their 24-year wait for a fourth World Cup title, while Loew's side are determined to avoid a defeat which would mean the third-place play-off - for the third consecutive time.
"I really do not need that, that's something I want to rule out," joked captain Philipp Lahm, who was on losing teams in semi-finals at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals.
FOUR KEY BATTLES
Here are four key battles in Tuesday's World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Germany in Belo Horizonte's Mineirao stadium.
Brazil defender Dante v Germany striker Miroslav Klose: This could be the most decisive battle in the game with the central defender shouldering the burden of responsibility in the hosts' backline following the suspension of captain Thiago Silva.
Against the best Germany striker of the last 15 years, Miroslav Klose, Dante will rely a lot on his knowledge of German football, having played in the Bundesliga for the past five seasons.
Dante's pace and his ability to read the game like few defenders in the world will be tested by Klose, who does not need a lot of space to hurt opponents. Chasing a record 16th World Cup goal, the 36-year-old Klose's experience and goal prowess will be needed if the Germans are to advance to their first World Cup final since 2002.
Klose's effectiveness in close-quarter combat is almost legendary but Dante is quicker than teammate David Luiz and should also cope better with Klose's aerial threat.
Brazil forward Fred v Germany defender Mats Hummels: At the other end of the pitch, Germany central defender Mats Hummels will have to shackle forward Fred, who will have added responsibilities following the injury absence of Neymar.
Fred, hugely experienced, has had a quiet World Cup so far, netting just once. He has had to soak up a lot of criticism for failing to score more goals as Brazil's sole centre forward.
With talismanic Neymar out with a back injury, more will be expected of Fred whose positional sense is outstanding. Hummels cannot afford to take his eyes off the 30-year-old inside the box even if he is far less effective than a few years ago.
The German can physically match the tall forward, is very strong in the air and more agile than his central defence partner Jerome Boateng which should help him keep wily Fred away from danger.
Brazil midfielder Oscar v Germany defender Phillip Lahm: The gifted Oscar will also have more attacking duties with Neymar out but he will come up against one of the best right-backs in the business.
Oscar's quick pace and skills will be tested by Lahm, who reverted back to his fullback duties midway through the tournament after a less than successful stint as holding midfielder.
With the Germany captain also adding attacking impetus, Oscar will need to be fully alert if he is to nip quick German counter-attacks launched by Lahm in the bud.
Brazil midfielder Hulk v Germany defender Benedikt Hoewedes: It will be equally hard work for Germany's left back Hoewedes against athletic Hulk. Hoewedes, a trained central defender, has been deployed as fullback in this tournament and has largely been successful.
While he does not contribute to launching quick breaks and remains a far more defensive fullback than Lahm, he must be at the top of his game against Hulk, who loves nothing more than challenging defenders to match his speed and power.
Hoewedes will need to avoid being lured too far out of position by Hulk, who often switches sides. Extremely powerful and quick Hulk will be a major challenge for workhorse Hoewedes, who lacks the Brazilian's pace and strength.
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