The Telegraph
Thursday , July 10 , 2014
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German midfield far superior
Presence of Neymar and Thiago wouldn’t have made a difference

What happened at Belo Horizonte on Tuesday was in a nutshell shocking and humiliating for Brazil fans. We have grown up admiring Brazil and have been fascinated by the skill of their players.

And to beat Brazil at home by such a huge margin is not something many would have dreamt of. I am sure, even Joachim Loew did not expect it. But the day, in every sense, belonged to Germany. They dominated the match, specially the midfield, and just swept Brazil away.

In international football, we do get to see one-sided matches. But this was a World Cup semi-final — a huge stage for every footballer. And every German player made it his own on Tuesday.

What Germany managed to do was excel not only as individuals, but also as a team. There was no show of selfishness. Be it Miroslav Klose or Thomas Mueller upfront, or Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger or Mesut Ozil in the midfield, they played like a well-oiled machine. There was never any over-dependence on any one player.

I think the German midfield is the strongest in this Cup. And that gives your team a strong backbone. If the midfielders do their job, then opportunities get created and the German players made full use of them.

With deft passes and skilful ball control they left Brazil awestruck. The fact that they scored as early as in the 11th minute helped as they realised how nervous Brazil were. The floodgates just opened thereafter.

As Thomas Mueller scored, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team lost heart. The match was lost at that moment. I had said before that an early goal in the semi-final could spell doom for Brazil. There’s no doubt that this Brazil team is the weakest I have ever seen. Yes, they did reach the semi-final, but against Germany very few would have expected this inexperienced lot to hold their own.

The German players just grew in confidence since that first goal. As Klose, Tony Kroos and Khedira toyed with the Brazilian defence, their body language suggested that each German player on the field could get a goal against his name. Up by five goals at half-time, they could have taken in easy, but never during the match did they let the tempo down.

Such was their confidence, that even when Klose was replaced by Andre Schuerrle in the second half, he took over from his more experienced teammate with consummate ease and found the net, not once but twice. And the second was a fantastic effort.

While Germany enjoyed their total domination, a almost dreamlike 7-1 scoreline, Brazil were confused. Their captain for the day, David Luiz had no clue about the plot. He failed to lead, and failed even more as a defender. Fred and Hulk didn’t even know what they were doing. Marcelo in defence looked lost. Oscar’s goal couldn’t even be termed as a consolation one.

Germany players celebrate, in Belo Horizonte, on Tuesday

Brazil surely missed Thiago Silva. And of course they missed Neymar. But would their presence have made a difference? I really don’t think so. Not against this German onslaught. As a striker myself, I can understand Germany’s confidence. They knew they were in charge. They could feel that Brazil were in a shambles and took advantage of that.

It is difficult to find a parallel to this match. The way Bayern Munich lost the Champions League semi-final (second leg) 0-4 to Real Madrid at home this April comes to mind. But Brazil’s capitulation will really be difficult to match. It was, indeed, their blackest day.