Germany broke Brazilian hearts on Tuesday evening by smashing the hosts 7-1 at the Estadio Mineirao, moving into the FIFA World Cup final in the process.
A first-half goal blitz saw Die Mannschaft finish the first half 5-0 up, Miroslav Klose netted his record-breaking 16th strike at a finals and the torture continued into the second period.
Mesut Ozil missed a one-on-one to make it 8-0, moments before Oscar netted a consolatory strike in the dying minutes.
Formations and XIs
Brazil lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation with Luiz Gustavo restored to the holding midfield line, Bernard in for Neymar and Dante in for Thiago Silva.
Germany used a hybrid 4-1-4-1/4-2-3-1 shape, with Miroslav Klose up front again, Thomas Mueller on the right and Mesut Ozil on the left.
Germany dropped into a solid 4-1-4-1 set off the ball from the kick-off, barely pressuring the Brazilian defenders when in possession.
It meant David Luiz and Dante saw a lot of the ball early in deep areas, but with no one to pass to in sight, they kept punting long diagonal balls into Bernard and Hulk but continually missed their intended targets.
The Selecao's pass map looked particularly ugly after a frustrating opening 40 minutes, with passes completed between the centre-backs, into the defensive midfielders, but then no further. More than 15 passes were aimlessly lofted forward, landing nowhere and handing possession back.
Germany, on the other hand, were the epitome of economical in their distribution. They moved fluidly, created wonderful interchanges outside the box and played selfless, passing football.
Sami Khedira put in an incredible Man of the Match display, and it was his influence that won this match for Germany by the half-hour mark.
In the quarter-final, Toni Kroos was the key between the lines, dropping into pockets and receiving passes to turn and torment France. This time, it was Khedira surging from deep and finding space between the lines, linking plays superbly.
After Luiz Gustavo began tracking him, other German midfielders began darting into space that the midfielder left; Kroos, Mesut Ozil and Mueller all found room to move.
Central to Brazil's issues was David Luiz, who had one of those games some use to reinforce the idea that he's "not a proper central defender." The evidence from this match is pretty difficult to argue with in that respect.
He stood and watched for the fourth goal, as Fernandinho lost possession in his own third, and a combination of Kroos and Khedira outwitted Julio Cesar before slotting home.
For the fifth goal, he came bounding out for absolutely no reason, missed his interception and left his colleagues three-on-three at the back. Khedira slotted home.
As things got more and more desperate, he began increasing his surges forward, and while his final stat line of four take-ons and 81 percent pass accuracy, per WhoScored.com, looks good, he caused his side many, many issues.
Several of his blunders on the ball resulted in Germany counterattacks, and while that's to be expected chasing a game, there were far too many for comfort.
Better Man vs. Man
It's not all David Luiz's fault; he had his issues, as did Fred, but Brazil, as a collective, were very poor.
What didn't help is that Germany looked at their magnificent best, with Philipp Lahm, in particular, sparkling from right-back.
Many asked what on earth Hulk was doing for the majority of the first half, and the answer is he was unable to find his way out of Lahm's pocket. The Bayern Munich man stands up wingers and dispossesses them better than any in the business, and he single-handedly shut down that right side.
Bernard was closely attended to by Benedikt Hoewedes on the other side, and with Brazil forced into longer passes, the converted centre-back had the beating of him in aerial tussles.
Oscar was crowded out through the middle, with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Khedira shutting him down easily.
That left the Selecao in a position where they needed to force passes or dribbles—see David Luiz—in attack, and the likes of Mueller and Kroos were able to drift into clever positions in space, collect the first counter-ball out of defence and begin turning Brazil the other way.
The game was wide open late on, and Bernard finally began finding room to work after switching over to the left-hand side.
That gave the Selecao an avenue, and they began building short spells of pressure and working the ball into the box, but the untested Jerome Boateng and Co. were fresh and ready to head or clear anything that came their way.
It was, overall, an astonishingly embarrassing performance from Brazil; a showing in which their struggles and disconnects, plaguing them all tournament long, bore their ugly heads in dramatic fashion.
For Germany, this in the pinnacle; Low has timed it perfectly. They were poor for four games, average for one and have now smashed the semi-final, set to head to the Maracana full of confidence, goals and assuredness in their showings.
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