Germany had been reforming its football since their weak appearances in 1998 and 2000. Despite their World Cup final in 2002, they were building up a young side for their 2006 hosting of the World Cup. Led by a team of young managers, many of them from Mainz and led by Jurgen Klinsmann, they were undertaking big changes to German football. Out was the focus on physical fitness and strength, and instead young players were being schooled on technique, ball possession and pressing football. In 2006 for the World Cup at home, the new team took over Germany with style: despite them not winning their positive style, their outgoing personality and their charm came to symbolize a new Germany for whom winning was not the most important, but who enjoyed the game. This new German side grew to become more competitive, and in 2008 made it to the Euro final only to lose to the best Spanish side in history. In the 2010 World Cup they made it to the semifinals, only to narrowly lose to Spain again, but with their young players looking better than ever, and in the 2012 Euro they made it again to the semifinals, losing to Italy. After qualifying in style, Germany certainly entered the tournament as one of the outsiders for the cup, although not as hyped as the Brazilian hosts, Messi's Argentina or Spain's defending champions. Manager Joachim Low, who had taken over the side from Klinsmann after the 2006 World Cup had been building up a squad of players that had played together for many years and besides understanding one another were really good friends. It included Manuel Neuer from Bayern Munich as arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the world, behind a defense that included Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm, also from Bayern Munich Jerome Boateng, Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels, Arsenal's experienced Per Mertesacker, and Schalke 04's Benedikt Howedes, as well as a young Kevin Grosskreutz from Borussia Dortmund. The midfield was a pure luxury of youth and experience with Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteigger, Real Madrid's Sami Khedira, Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, as well as Bayern Munich youngsters Toni Kroos and Mario Gotze. Also along was Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller who had been named best young player of the 2010 World Cup, and could plausibly play in almost any position, including attack. Although a versatile team, where players could play almost any position, the attack was led by two experienced veterans with Arsenal's Lukas Podolski and Lazio's Miroslav Klose, who was participating in his fourth World Cup and would go on to set many records in this World Cup. Germany opened the tournament with a stylish 4-0 trashing of one of the outsiders to the title, Portugal, where Thomas Muller scored three goals. In the following match against Ghana, Germany showed some defensive weaknesses in going down 1-2, but Miroslav Klose ensured a 2-2, making him the third player ever, alongside Pele and Uwe Seeler, to score in four different World Cups. In their last group match the Germans relaxed with a 1-0 victory over the USA. Despite making it to the next round Germany had shown some weaknesses with their high pressure and at times slow defense, and had to use all their quality to defeat a well-playing Algeria (who had wanted revenge for the 1982 scandal), being saved by a splendid Manuel Neuer playing as sweeper and a last minute of extra time victory goal by Mesut Ozil. In the quarterfinals the Germans had played an intelligent and solid match to defeat France 1-0, and were now to play the hosts of Brazil.
In the book “Das Reboot” the German players explain how they prepared for the match mentally; they knew they were up against a team under great pressure to have success at home, and that Germany could use this to their benefit. At the same time they expected to face a team that would give everything in front of their fans. As it turned out, the Germans were right on the first part, but wrong on the second. In the first half, as much as Germany were good, Brazil were disgracefully bad. The first goal, in the 11th minute, came when Thomas Muller was left completely uncovered for a corner kick. One could at this point have thought this was one of those typical mistakes that are punished by any quality team, but as the match progressed one could see that the Brazilian players were on another planet on that day. In the 23rd minute the German combinations tore apart a passive Brazilian defense and Miroslav Klose scored record goal beating Ronaldo to become the most scoring player in World Cup history. This started a complete Brazilian collapse: within six minutes Toni Kroos scored two goals and Sami Khedira one, to make it 5-0. All the goals were excellent combinations, and in particular Toni Kroos, who would be named Man-of-the-Match, played more as a Brazilian than any Brazilian.
As the home spectators were crying, the rest of the world could hardly believe what they were seeing. It was impossible to rejoice as one saw Brazil, a team everyone liked, being humiliated in such a resounding way. But as the first half ended with a 5-0 score, it was also impossible to wonder how Brazilians like David Luiz, Paulinho, Marcelo or Fred, were playing so dismally bad in a World Cup semifinal at home!? Most Brazilians in the world would have played better than what these guys did on that day!
Brazil were better in the second half, when there really was nothing more to play for and the Germans slowed down a bit. But when the Brazilians came forward, they encountered Manuel Neuer, who was the world's best goalkeeper. On the other hand, the Germans extended their lead: Andre Schurrle, who had come on for Miroslav Klose (clearly taking him out was not to spare Brazil), made it 6-0 and 7-0. The last goal was a spectacular strike worthy of any World Cup semifinal in Brazil.
Only in the last minute Oscar scored for Brazil. It mattered because it prevented the match from becoming Brazil's greatest defeat ever (so it only equalized their 6-0 defeat to Uruguay in 1920). But it was a game of records anyway: the greatest scoreline in a World Cup semifinal and Brazil's greatest home defeat ever. With it, Germany surpassed Brazil to become the most-scoring World Cup team ever and made it to their record 8th World Cup final. In the meantime, this was the greatest humiliation Brazil ever suffered and lost Brazil their place as the greatest footballing nation of all time, an honour that surely belongs to Germany today.
- 8th July 2014, Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte
- Attendance: 58,141
- Referee: Marco Rodriguez, Mexico
Goals: 0-1 Muller (11) 0-2 Klose (23) 0-3 Kroos (24) 0-4 Kroos (26) 0-5 Khedira (29) 0-6 Schurrle (69) 0-7 Schurrle (79) 1-7 Oscar (90)
Brazil: Julio Cesar; Maicon, David Luiz, Dante, Marcelo, Fernandinho (Paulinho, 46), Luiz Gustavo, Hulk (Ramires, 46), Oscar, Bernard, Fred (Willian, 70)
Germany: Manuel Neuer; Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm, Mats Hummels (Per Mertesacker, 46), Benedikt Howedes, Sami Khedira (Julian Draxler, 76), Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Miroslav Klose (Andre Schurrle, 58)
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