Ranking the 5 Biggest Culprits for Brazil's 7-1 World Cup Semi-Final Demolition
Brazil got demolished at home by Germany with an impressive final score of 7-1 in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.
It was certainly one of those days in which everything went wrong for one team and everything seemed to work for the other side. But in Brazil, there is no room for excuses after its worst defeat in World Cup history.
Who is to blame for the humiliating loss in the semi-final?
Here are the five culprits guilty of crushing the host nation's sixth championship dreams.
5. Thiago Silva
True, he didn't even play the game. Thiago Silva wasn't on the pitch due to a suspension after picking up two yellow cards in the tournament.
How did he pick up the second yellow card against Colombia in the quarter-final?
Silva did it in a play that was non-transcendental and in which he could have definitely avoided the suspension. That is, if he had been thinking ahead.
Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina was blocked by the Brazilian center-back while trying to clear the ball. It was not a foul that was even worth committing for tactical reasons.
Thiago Silva is the captain of the team, yet a mental error cost him while the team lost its leader on the pitch and a great defender for the semi-final clash.
Some of the best from Brazil up until the semi-final was the center-back duo formed by Silva and David Luiz.
Both were responsible for Brazil not allowing more goals in the tournament after the failure of the midfielders and full-backs to contain opponents. The Paris Saint-Germain defender not only contributed on defensive and leadership duties but also to Brazil's offense—especially on set pieces.
Brazil would probably still have lost with him on the pitch—but not by 7-1.
Between the second and fifth German goals, Brazil was in shock; a leader was needed to talk strongly to his teammates to wake up. Those fateful 18 minutes when Germany scored four goals could have been avoided with Silva in the game.
The captain of a team simply can't afford to make such a mental mistake.
Fred will be remembered as the worst center-forward in the history of the Selecao for many years to come.
He wasn't able to make his presence up top worry the German defenders at any point. The work of manager Joachim Low and the German defensive line was easier with Fred on the pitch, allowing for the defensive and midfield lines to move up.
Certainly Fred's teammates didn't create many chances for him to score, but he didn't help his cause either.
In the early minutes of the second half, when Brazil was trying to get some of its dignity back attacking Manuel Neuer's goal, Fred—as usual—wasn't there to be found striking a ball into the net.
When finally a through ball got to him, he was more worried about diving for the ref to make a penalty kick call than to actually get the ball.
With Neymar out, the only one who could possibly bring some magic to the team was Oscar.
Hulk, Fred and everyone else in the team have a certain amount of skill—which none of them showed—but none like the Chelsea playmaker.
Oscar showed his potential against Croatia, then disappeared in every game during the tournament. It didn't really matter as the team kept advancing, but for the semi-final match, it was urgent that he step up and carry Brazil on his back.
Sadly for him and the Selecao, his contributions only came in the second half when the game was already decided in favor of the Germans. Oscar did score Brazil's only goal in "trash time."
The only reason he is higher in this ranking than Fred is because we know Oscar has the talent, but he wasn't capable of exploiting it.
2. Everyone Else in Brazil's Starting XI
After the massacre against Die Mannschaft, would you save any of Brazil's starting lineup?
On the first goal, Marcelo lost the ball and ended giving away a corner kick. Dante, Maicon, David Luiz, Fred, Luiz Gustavo and Fernandinho, all six of them, covered three German attackers and left Thomas Mueller alone.
On the second goal, Marcelo made a run that allowed for all the German attackers to be onside.
Fernandinho was supposed to be covering Mueller on the third goal, which ended with Toni Kroos scoring. And it was also Fernandinho who lost the ball just outside the box for Germany's fourth.
Those are some of the most costly mistakes, but Brazilian errors went on and on through most of the 90 minutes.
At that point, where were Hulk, Bernard, Oscar and Fred? Certainly the German defenders weren't worried about them, and they weren't doing a good job of pressuring either.
Julio Cesar had little to do on the German goals, but where was his leadership role to reorganize his defense and scream at them to make the right coverage?
1. Luiz Felipe Scolari
Scolari admitted to his guilt in the press conference after the match, as reported by ESPN FC: "The catastrophic result can be shared with the whole group, but the choice and who decided the tactical lineup -- I did. The person who is responsible is me."
Obviously it is not all his fault as he stated. And he is someone worthy of his profession for taking all the blame and not distributing it among others. With that being said, he holds the most responsibility for what happened on Tuesday night.
Tactically, Joachim Low ran over Scolari, and Felipao had no reaction. Brazil was losing 5-0 in half an hour and Scolari didn't make a single change or substitution at that point.
If you are down by five goals in 30 minutes, something certainly needs to be fixed, someone had to go out, something needed to be done. Five goals went in and Felipao had no answer after every goal was scored.
Even if it was just to send a message to the players on the pitch for them to react, Scolari needed to make a move, probably after the third goal. He didn’t, and they went into the locker room morally destroyed at half-time.
Felipao also said during the press conference after the match that he does not regret calling any of the 23 men on the squad. That is a true gentleman speaking.
He can't blame the players he chose now—that's even admirable if you will—but inside he must really reflect on who he should have called instead.
The list of players left out with enough talent to be on Brazil's final roster is long. Brazil had little to no alternatives on the bench. How else do you explain that Fred, Oscar, Hulk and Dani Alves played for the most part of the tournament after consistently awful performances?
Scolari sacrificed the praised "jogo bonito" (beautiful game) style for winning. And when you do that, the only thing that is acceptable is winning. If you lose, you have nothing left, nothing to show.
In 2002, Scolari played with the same defensive precautions and left the Brazilian historic style on the side, but up front he had three football giants to solve the problems.
The 2014 Brazil only had one, and without him the magic up front is nonexistent. Not to mention, Neymar is not on Ronaldo or Rivaldo’s level in 2002; Neymar is possibly only comparable to the young Ronaldinho's level in Korea-Japan.
Scolari will always be remembered as the coach who took Brazil to its fifth championship, but he will also be remembered as the one most responsible for the Selecao's biggest fall in history.