Brazil vs. Germany: 6 Things We Learned
In what has been a truly outstanding tournament thus far, the World Cup finally welcomed its first genuinely great side on Tuesday night when Germany overcame hosts Brazil 7-1 at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.
Although Joachim Low's side had already been touted as comfortable favourites—following the injury to Neymar and the suspension of Thiago Silva—nobody could have predicted just how strong this German victory would have been on the night.
Luiz Felipe Scolari's side had done well up until this point to get so far in the competition, but like the cold, hard smack of reality, it was the might of Thomas Mueller & Co. who brought this nation's expectations back down to the ground in just 90 minutes.
Germany now roll on to their eighth World Cup final in a competition that few thought they were capable of winning while Brazil try to pick themselves up for a third-place play-off with either Argentina or Holland.
Here's what we took from this historic win for Germany.
Miroslav Klose Reaches New Record
In amongst the heartbreak of an entire nation, it was Miroslav Klose who well and truly rubbed it in with a solitary goal to put himself above Ronaldo in the top World Cup goalscorers of all time chart.
With Germany's second goal in the 23rd minute, Klose picked up his 16th World Cup goal and set his nation on course for a place in the final.
Six minutes after the towering striker's goal, Germany had scored another three—a clinical moment to break away from their opponents and confirm their spot in the final.
A striker who not only helped his side reach the final of the World Cup on Tuesday night, but also made history in his own right.
Brazil Lose on Home Soil for First Time Since 1975
One—if not the only—factor that Brazil had in their favour throughout this World Cup was the advantage of playing in front of their own fans in each and every game.
Although Scolari's side may not have been the strongest team in the tournament, they overcame opponents like Chile and Colombia through sheer determination and the support of the crowd.
Unfortunately, Germany proved too good on the night, and with their 7-1 victory, they inflicted the first defeat in a competitive game for Brazil since 1975. Thirty-nine years of prestige, honour and success, which all came to an abrupt end.
Low Gets Tactics Spot on Again
Although Low may not be the most popular manager at this World Cup, he has certainly proved himself to be one of the most astute and brilliant coaches throughout it.
Brazil may have looked far from their best tonight through injured personnel and the pressure of a nation on their shoulders, but it was Low's tactics that ensured that Germany never gave them a moment's rest.
Low stuck with his 4-2-3-1 formation—the very one that overcame France just days beforehand—but also made sure that the front two of Mueller and Klose put as much pressure on Brazil's back line as possible.
This was also evident from just how far Sami Khedira played up the park on Tuesday night. The central midfielder usually sits deep in Germany's midfield but was instead asked to play a more physical role against Brazil's deep-lying midfield and defensive players.
Germany won comfortably on the night, and it was in no small part down to their coach.
Germany Inflict Highest-Ever Semi-Final Defeat
Germany may have always been expected to at least edge past this troubled Brazilian side, but the manner in which they did will remain within the memories of all who watched for some time to come.
The momentous 7-1 result in Brazil was the biggest-ever defeat to any side in World Cup semi-final history, with Germany overcoming their own record against Austria in 1954, Argentina's win over the USA in 1930 and Uruguay's win over Yugoslavia, also in 1930. All three games ended in 6-1 defeats.
Low's side may have overcome all other obstacles to reach the final, but they did so by making history.
Brazil Missed Thiago Silva More Than Neymar
There was only one word that could have summed up the drama ahead of Tuesday night's game—Neymar.
The Barcelona striker was unfortunately ruled out of the competition following a back injury against Colombia in the last round, and it seemed as though the nation had gone into mourning over what their team could achieve without their charismatic talisman.
Yet in truth, it was Thiago Silva—the cool-headed PSG defender—who was truly missed on the night.
Without Silva, David Luiz took the lead and proceeded to unravel all the work done by Scolari's side up until that point. Brazil looked worse than ordinary, pathetic even, without their star defender. Defeat may have been inevitable on the day, but we dare say Silva may have made it seem more acceptable.
Germany Reach Eighth World Cup Final
With 17 goals in just six games, Germany have undoubtedly been one of the most entertaining teams throughout this World Cup.
Having overcome such opponents like Portugal, France, Ghana and now Brazil, Low's side march on to the final at the Maracana on Sunday evening for their eighth appearance in the history of the competition.
On that day, the European powerhouses of international football will have appeared in more World Cup finals than any other nation on Earth and go into the match against either Argentina or Holland with the possibility of picking up their fourth trophy and matching Italy's record in the competition.
A single game that will go on to define this generation of players awaits Low's side. Now, we wait to see if they are ready to step up and become world champions.