9 July 2014 00:00
Germany ended Brazil’s FIFA World Cup dream with a sensational 7-1 semi-final victory as the hosts capitulated in Belo Horizonte.
Shorn of injured playmaker Neymar, who suffered a fractured vertebra in the quarter-final against Colombia, and suspended captain Thiago Silva, Brazil were torn apart by a ruthless Germany at Estadio Mineirao.
Miroslav Klose became the leading scorer in World Cup finals history as Joachim Low’s side scored four goals in the space of six first-half minutes and led 5-0 after only 29 minutes, then struck twice in the second half to set up a final against either the Netherlands or Argentina at the Maracana on Sunday.
Thomas Muller set the ball rolling with his fifth of the tournament and veteran striker Klose netted his 16th World Cup goal, surpassing legendary Brazil striker Ronaldo’s tally as shell-shocked Brazil were totally outclassed.
Brazil had no answer to Germany’s passing and movement as Toni Kroos struck twice and Sami Khedira added a fifth before substitute Andre Schurrle scored twice in the second half as the hosts were totally humiliated in the most emphatic semi-final win in World Cup history.
Oscar pulled back a late goal on the break, but it was no consolation on a miserable night for Brazil.
Germany were a class apart and Brazil fans sportingly applauded as they became the first team to score seven goals in a World Cup semi-final and will take some beating as they attempt to win the trophy for the first time since 1990, while the inquest will now start for the home nation.
The hosts started brightly against Colombia in the quarter-finals, but looked nervous early on and Germany took full advantage when Muller put them in front just 11 minutes in courtesy of some dreadful defending.
It was all too straightforward for the Bayern Munich forward, who side-footed home after being left unmarked from an outswinging Kroos corner.
Brazil looked disjointed as they gave the ball away far too easily, while Germany were playing with a swagger and doubled their lead with a landmark Klose goal after 23 minutes.
Muller was involved once again, as he cut in from the right and laid the ball off for Klose after being picked out by an incisive Kroos pass. The veteran striker slotted into the corner with his right foot after Julio Cesar had kept out his initial attempt.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men were stunned, but far worse was to come as Germany capitalised on more shambolic defending to score another three goals in the space of five minutes.
First, Kroos was on hand to fire home with his left foot from 18 yards after Muller had failed to make contact with a Philipp Lahm pass, then the midfielder struck again almost straight from the kick-off as Brazil fell apart.
The Bayern Munich man robbed Fernandinho as he dithered in possession and laid the ball off for Khedira, who unselfishly cut it back for his fellow midfielder to net.
And the outstanding Khedira got in on the act by adding a fifth with only 29 minutes gone, driving forward and passing to Mesut Ozil and then finishing with his right foot after the Arsenal midfielder cut the ball back to him inside the penalty area.
Scolari replaced Fernandinho and Hulk with Paulinho and Ramires at half-time and both substitutes were in the thick of the action early in the second half as they brought saves out of Manuel Neuer.
But normal service was resumed as Germany showed no mercy and Cesar produced a fine save to tip over Muller’s goal-bound strike on the hour mark.
Cesar could do nothing to deny substitute Schurrle a sixth goal 69 minutes in, though, and once again it was all too easy as Lahm fed Khedira, who in turn picked out the Chelsea forward and he made no mistake with a simple finish.
And Schurrle put Germany in seventh heaven with a clinical left-foot finish at the near post 11 minutes from time that prompted Brazil fans to sportingly applaud despite their heartbreak.
Oscar pulled a goal back when he cut inside Jerome Boateng and finished a minute from time, but the damage had long since been done.