Brazil and Germany met in the first semifinal of the 2014 World Cup to settle an age old grudge – who is the ultimate football nation?
The teams, with eight World Cup trophies between them, are two of the games biggest superpowers. This was about more than just another shot at the final, this was about making a statement.
Three-time winners Germany had yet to hit top form coming into this, but there were signs that they were finally starting to click.
For five-time winners Brazil, they would have to cope without injured superstar Neymar and suspended captain Thiago Silva, undeniably their two best players. Others needed to step up in their absence.
The last time these two met, Brazil won to claim the 2002 World Cup trophy. They’d be seeking a repeat, Germany a redemption.
An explosive start to the game saw Brazil drive forward at Germany dangerously, but it was the Germans who drew first blood.
Only 11 minutes into the match and the roles were reversed – Brazil, who had taken the lead early in their last two knockout games thanks to a set piece, were behind. Thomas Müller expertly dispatched the ball into the back of the net from a corner, and Germany had an early lead.
Only 12 minutes after and Germany had doubled that lead – a clinical German attack gave Miroslav Klose the chance to finish his own rebound. The veteran striker netted his 16th career World Cup goal (one more than the Brazilian Ronaldo) – a new record.
It was at that moment that logic ceased to exist.
One single minute later, and Brazil were picking the ball up out of the back of their net once again. This time it was midfielder Toni Kroos, who fired a ferocious left-footed strike into the bottom corner past a stunned Julio Cesar.
Brazilian fans around the stadium (and the country, for that matter) stood with their mouths wide open. This was not supposed to happen.
They didn’t have much time to process the three-goal deficit.
Kroos added another goal just two minutes after his first, slotting the ball into an empty net, leaving Julio Cesar stranded in the middle of his box.
Brazil’s nightmare refused to end, and three minutes after Kroos’ double, box-to-box midfielder Sami Khedira scored a fifth.
The Brazilian back line was in tatters – without Thiago Silva, they crumbled embarrassingly. The Germans cut through them like a knife on butter.
An 18-minute period brought an incredible five goals for Germany.
For Brazil, it brought the darkest period in their country’s footballing history.
The half time whistle sounded: Germany 5, Brazil 0. History, embarrassment, madness.
Brazil came out better after the break (they couldn’t come out worse, could they?) but Manuel Neuer refused to allow the Brazilian players the consolation goal that they tried so hard to get.
Germany, although still dangerous, understandably slowed down. They didn’t need any more goals today.
Substitute Andre Schürrle clearly didn’t get the memo, though.
In the 69th minute, the wideman scored a sixth goal for Germany, tapping in from fullback Phillip Lahm’s cross.
Ten minutes later and Schürrle, who decided mercy was not an option, scored again. This time he controlled a lofted pass from Thomas Müller before smashing a left-footed volley in off the underside of the bar.
Brazil’s consolation goal finally came when Oscar broke the offside trap and cut by Manuel Neuer, smashing into the net.
The full time whistle brought an end to a dream day for Germany, and a nightmare for Brazil.
Germany 7-1 Brazil: the heaviest loss in Brazil’s history, and the biggest semifinal defeat in the history of the World Cup.
Brazil came into this tournament hoping to make history, but they’ve done so for all the wrong reasons.
Neymar will be glad that his injury ruled him out of what would have been a massive stain on his international career.
For Germany, they are now one game from the illustrious trophy. They will play the winner of Netherlands and Argentina, and after today’s rampant showing, neither will be looking forward to the game.
The Germans have been slow and steady throughout this World Cup, but today they truly arrived. You wouldn’t bet against them lifting that trophy on Sunday.