July 09, 2014

Horse 1709 - Brazil 1 - Ger-MANY

Brazil 1 - Germany 7
Müller 11', Klose 23', Kroos 24', 26', Khedira 29', Schürrle 69', 79
Oscar 90'

Shares in the German dictionary and thesaurus company Langenscheidt rose sharply this morning as German sports writers literally ran out of words to describe what had happened. Words at this point can not express the utter humiliation of the Brazilian side as they had an unheard of 7 goals blasted past them in an unprecedented semi-final.
Quite literally "inconceivable". I keep using that word. I think it means what you think it means... anyone who could conceive of that before the match started was probably wearing a white coat with buckles, so that they could hug themselves all day long.
To try and describe each of the seven goals is best left up to television reporters and proper sports writers who will now go about their jobs mechanically as they try to write up what had happened and so I'll not do that. This is more of a general sort of analysis.

The two sides both started out with an intensity that was befitting a semi-final and really, Thomas Müller's opening goal is probably where I would have expected this fixture to end. A 1-0 loss at home, in itself would have been cause for alarm and disgust but Klose's goal in the 23rd minute was the opener of six minutes of mayhem.
Four goals in six minutes from Klose, Kroos (who bagged a brace) and Khedira, pretty much buried this match before half-time but it was the manner in which this happened which is of interest.

Before the match, much was made of the fact that Neymar would not be playing and that Brazil would need to galvanise itself and pull together as a team.
Already in the post-match interviews, Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has fallen on his sword and said:
"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."

Even before a ball had been rolled, Scolari chose a brand new back four of David Luiz, Marcelo, Dante and Maicon. Changing the back four in a fixture this important is usually a recipe for disaster because if you can't build a side from the back, then it had better have enough attacking flair to overcome this and this Brazil side simply never had it.
The back four's job was made ever more difficult by a central midfield pair of Luiz Gustavo and Fernandinho who may as well have not have been there at all. This is more than likely where Brazil fell to pieces. The German midfield of Khedira, Schweinsteiger and Kroos just kept on pressing and when they didn't have the ball, tracked back and defended; this is precisely what Luiz Gustavo and Fernandinho failed to do. By not working hard enough and standing off a couple of yards, Brazil gave Germany the space to stitch together short passes and with Mesut Özil who found sneaky little jinks around the 18-yard box, Germany was able to camp for extended periods of time in the front third of the park.

There are sides which are capable of playing hold and contain football but Brazil were seemingly unable to do either. When they did manage to steal the ball, instead of building something slowly, Brazil preferred to pump the ball to an unsupported Fred, who was playing as a lone and lonely striker.
Brazil's only consolation was that Oscar sprinted through the German defence in the 90th minute and got around a German defence whose work rate by that stage didn't need to be so frantic because for Brazil to even draw, they needed to cancel out an impossible 7 goals.
It was too little and about an hour and a quarter too late.

If Scolari hasn't already handed in his resignation as Brazil manager by the time that I've read this, he probably will by the end of the day. I suspect that his last match in charge, will probably also be the last time that many of these Brazilians will ever make the Seleção. It is fitting to use the other nickname for the Brazil national football team, the Canarinho or Little Canary, because like a canary in a coal mine, it probably died and I'm sure that just like when Germany lost the 2002 World Cup Final against Brazil, they too will now hold a national enquiry into the whole structure of football.
In many many respects, this is far worse than the Maracanaço of 1950. This Mineirãnaço of 2014 broke a 62-match home unbeaten streak in competitive matches going back to 1975 and is Brazil’s worst defeat since 1934.

Whoever Germany plays in the final you'd have to rate as underdogs against this side which ran rampant. I don't know if Brazil made Germany look better but the one fact which remains out of this is that Germany looked like a well disciplined machine and if they play like this in the final, I doubt if even they could stop themselves.

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