|Germany routs Brazil 7-1, reaches World Cup final|
|Tuesday, July 08, 2014 8:11 PM|
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — With Neymar out injured, just about everyone in Brazil knew it would be tough against Germany.
Nobody ever expected this.
The Germans tore apart Brazil’s porous defense time and time again Tuesday, routing the hosts 7-1 in the World Cup semifinals, the largest margin of defeat at this stage in the history of the tournament.
“We wanted to make the people happy … unfortunately we couldn’t,” said Brazil defender David Luiz, who had scored in each of the last two matches. “We apologize to all Brazilians.”
The astounding scoreline is sure to overshadow Miroslav Klose’s record-setting 16th career World Cup goal. The strike pushed Klose past Brazil great Ronaldo, who was at the Mineirao Stadium on Tuesday as the Germans advanced to their eighth World Cup final.
Germany will face either Argentina or the Netherlands on Sunday at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro with a chance to win for the fourth time.
Brazil was playing without Neymar, the team’s key player and the poster boy for the World Cup. He scored four goals in the group stage but Brazil’s attack seemed to get weaker and weaker as the tournament progressed. The Barcelona striker was ruled out of the tournament with a broken vertebra after getting kneed in the back in the quarterfinal win over Colombia, weakening the sputtering attack even more.
With Neymar sidelined and captain Thiago Silva suspended, the collective hopes of a nation remained high even if expectations were lowered.
The atmosphere at the start of the match was spine-tingling but the euphoria of the yellow-shirted thousands soon turned to tears as the Germans scored five goals in the first 30 minutes — four of them in a 7-minute span.
“It was very important to stay calm, cool and courageous in facing Brazilian passion,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said.
The loss matched Brazil’s most-lopsided defeat ever and it’s the first time the team has lost in an official competitive match on home soil since 1975, when Peru won 3-1 at the very same stadium in the Copa America. Its last loss at home came in a friendly with Paraguay in 2002.
Previously, Brazil’s biggest World Cup loss was 3-0 to France in the 1998 final. In the 1920 the South American championship, the predecessor of the Copa America, Brazil lost 6-0 to Uruguay.
“The responsibility for this catastrophic result is mine,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. “I was in charge.”
It was Germany’s biggest World Cup win since routing Saudi Arabia 8-0 in a group match in 2002.
On Tuesday, with Bernard playing as the third striker in the place of Neymar, Brazil attacked from the start. But they failed to get any solid chances and it wasn’t long before the Germans opened up the defense and started the rout.
Toni Kroos and Andre Schuerrle scored two goals each, while Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira added the others.
Oscar pulled a late goal back for Brazil.
“Brazil was shocked after the goals; they did not expect that. They did not know what to do,” Loew added. “Their defense was not organized. A little humbleness would not hurt now.”
Klose scored his record goal in the 23rd minute to make it 2-0. The German had his original shot saved but he followed up as Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar spilled the ball, easily scoring from the rebound.
Kroos scored his first goal in the 25th minute, knocking in a cross from Philipp Lahm that bypassed Mueller in the middle. He made it 4-0 a minute later, beating Cesar after a defensive mistake from Fernandinho left the ball on the feet of Khedira.
Mueller scored the first goal, one-timing a corner from Kroos past Cesar in the 11th minute. Khedira made it 5-0 in the 29th, taking a pass from Mesut Ozil and again beating Cesar.
“Today, 10 minutes went wrong in the game and Germany did really well,” Scolari added. “It’s a chaotic and terrible defeat … but we have to learn from it.”
Schuerrle, who came on for Klose in the 58th minute, scored from a cross by Lahm in the 69th, then knocked a shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net in the 79th.
It’s the first time Brazil had allowed five goals in a World Cup match since the 1938 tournament in France, when the team beat Poland 6-5 in extra time.
In previous World Cup semifinal matches, the largest margin of defeat was five goals, occurring on three occasions.
Brazil: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Dante, David Luiz, Marcelo; Luiz Gustavo, Fernandinho (Paulinho, 46), Oscar; Bernard, Fred (Willian, 69), Hulk (Ramires, 46).
Germany: Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm, Mats Hummels (Per Mertesacker, 46), Jerome Boateng, Benedikt Hoewedes; Sami Khedira (Julian Draxler, 76), Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller; Miroslav Klose (Andre Schuerrle, 58).
Sabella: Argentine Messi is the ‘best of them all’
SAO PAULO — Normally a reserved man who avoids hype, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella isn’t shy about declaring Lionel Messi to be the best player in the world.
Comparing the Argentina captain with Arjen Robben of the Netherlands and Brazil’s Neymar, Sabella on Tuesday held up Messi as the undisputed No. 1.
“Robben is a great player. He is very important for Holland. Like Neymar is for Brazil and Messi for Argentina,” Sabella said. “Each of them is important for their teams but Messi is the best of them all.”
After a disappointing World Cup four years ago, Messi has carried Argentina into the semifinals in Brazil, scoring four goals — the same tally Neymar reached before injury ruled him out of the tournament. Robben, who faces Argentina in the second semifinal today, has scored three.
Though he’s been named world player of the year for times for his accomplishments with Barcelona, Messi hasn’t had the same kind of success with Argentina, which hasn’t won a major title since the 1993 Copa America.
This is the first time since 1990 that Argentina has reached a World Cup semifinal, which Sabella said was a victory in itself.
“After 24 years, Argentina is among the four best teams in the world,” Sabella told reporters. “I think this group of players has already won. Let’s see if we can win even more.”
If it does win the semifinal, Argentina won’t have to worry about rival Brazil in the title game. Sabella was just as stunned as everyone else to see Brazil lose 7-1 to Germany in the first semifinal, a game Argentina’s players watched the end of on TV at Itaquerao Stadium, even delaying their training session for around 20 minutes.
Sabella added the heavy defeat for Brazil was clearly “not normal.
“But in football you have to expect these things. It’s football. It’s the most illogical of sports. Things happen that you cannot foresee.”