Germany advanced to the FIFA World Cup final after sweeping aside hosts Brazil with a stunning 7-1 victory on Tuesday at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Appearing in a record fourth straight semi-final, Germany netted five times in the opening 29 minutes to silence the overwhelmingly pro-Brazil crowd. After a brief resurgence by Brazil early in the second half, Germany added two more before Brazil pulled back a late consolation goal.
Toni Kroos and Andre Schurrle scored twice for Germany, while Thomas Mueller, Sami Khedira and Miroslav Klose added one goal each. Klose's goal was the 16th in his World Cup career, setting a new record, as Infostrada Sports noted.
Oscar scored Brazil's only goal in the 90th minute.
The victory sent Germany into their eighth World Cup final and first since 2002, which they lost, 2-0, to Brazil in Yokohama, Japan. Joachim Low's side will play either Argentina or the Netherlands on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, where another win would deliver Die Mannschaft's fourth World Cup title.
With a repeat of Tuesday's performance, Germany will be firm favourites to lift the trophy. But while Germany were fully worthy of their win, Brazil played poorly without injured superstar Neymar and suspended captain Thiago Silva.
Indeed, Germany's win itself was far from surprising. It was shocking, however, that it came by such a scoreline against a team like Brazil, the most successful team in World Cup history with five titles.
The match got off to a frantic start as both teams set out to attack, but it was Germany who took the lead in the 11th minute via a set piece. Kroos curled in a corner from the right, finding an unmarked Mueller near the edge of the six-yard box, who volleyed in past Julio Cesar for the opening goal.
Brazil were stunned, but their plight would soon become much worse as Germany scored four times in a breathtaking six-minute stretch.
Germany doubled their advantage in the 23rd minute as Klose set the World Cup's all-time scoring record for an individual. Kroos started the move, slotting a fine pass to Mueller as the latter darted across the box from the right. Mueller then laid off for Klose, who finished on the rebound after seeing his initial shot saved by Cesar.
One minute later, it was 3-0. Philipp Lahm served as the provider this time, crossing from the right flank for Kroos to power in an accurate first-time shot at the back post. Kroos then made it 4-0 two minutes later, slotting in past Cesar after swapping passes with Khedira in the box.
Khedira had his turn in the 29th minute, stretching Germany's lead to 5-0 with an easy finish following a Brazil giveaway.
The home fans in the Estadio Mineirao were stunned into silence, many shedding tears in shock and disbelief. Facing a five-goal deficit at half-time, Brazil briefly showed signs of life early in the second half.
Ramires, a half-time substitute, crossed dangerously for Oscar in the 51st minute, but Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer alertly pushed the ball away. Neuer then saved again from Oscar's close-range shot a minute later before twice stopping Paulinho in the 53rd minute.
Germany weren't finished, though. Schurrle, a second-half substitute, scored Germany's sixth in the 69th minute, sweeping home a cross from Lahm. The Chelsea man also bagged his side's seventh goal 10 minutes later, finishing high at the near post from Mueller's looping pass.
Brazil pulled a goal back through Oscar in the 90th minute, but the late strike was little more than consolation, with Brazil's humiliation already complete.
For Germany, on the other hand, glory could be 90 minutes away.
|Brazil Player Ratings|
|Ramires (for Hulk, 46')||N/A||5|
|Paulinho (for Fernandinho, 46')||N/A||5|
|Willian (for Fred, 69')||N/A||5|
|Germany Player Ratings|
|Per Mertesacker (for Mats Hummels, 46')||N/A||7|
|Andre Schurrle (for Klose, 58')||N/A||8|
|Julian Draxler (for Khedira, 76')||N/A||6|
Germany coach Joachim Low (all quotes below via FIFA.com):
After losing the semi-final to Italy in 2006, we know how Brazil, the players, Mr. Scolari and the fans feel, so we have to be modest and humble and take the next step. The emotions are great. We won, we’ve made it to the final. We coped with the passion of the Brazilians and we knew that if we played to our capabilities we thought we would win – but we couldn’t have expected this result. We took our chances well and they strained under the pressure caused by conceding. Both Argentina and the Netherlands have huge qualities and it will be a difficult match. For Miroslav Klose to break the record of scoring the most goals at the World Cup, it means a lot to us. It’s great for him and for the team. If you’ve scored the most goals in the history of the World Cup, you’ve had to earn it. He’s still playing at the highest level and scoring goals.
Germany midfielder Toni Kroos:
It was an impressive performance. It’s the best team performance for Germany I’ve been involved in. We started believing from the first minute as we thought that Brazil were a little bit hesitant in their decision-making and we took advantage of that. After we scored the first, the goals kept coming. Had someone had said we’d have won 7-1 I wouldn’t have believed them, but I thought we were outstanding, that’s all I can say. We’re here to become world champions, we’re happy and relieved to go through – but there’s still one game to go. No-one has won the World Cup in a semi-final.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari:
It’s the worst moment of my football career and the worst day of my football life. But life goes on. Who is responsible for this result? I am, it’s me. The blame for this catastrophic result can be shared between us all, but the person who decided the line-up, the tactics was me. It was my choice. We tried to do what we could, we did our best – but we came up against a great German team. We couldn’t react to going behind. We got disorganised and panicked after the first goal and then it all went wrong for us. Not even the Germans can tell you how this happened – but it’s because of their skills and you have to respect that. We have to learn to deal with it. My message for the Brazilian people is this. Please excuse us for this performance. 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.