(Photo courtesy of a Mark Chapman tweet).
As the late and great sports commentator, David Coleman, would have said: quite remarkable!
The most devastating result in World Cup history? How will Brazilian football recover from this?
Those of us who follow Arsenal will recognise that first half. First goal goes in: fear. Second soon after: panic. Third: collapse. All the basics of defending, the organisation, running back, covering, tackling, go out of the window. The ascendant team are sharp, fast, keep the ball and start passing it into the net. They look surprised at how easy it is. Liverpool, Chelsea… Germany.
The Germans scored four goals in six minutes. They were brilliant, incisive, ruthless. But Brazil were shambolic. Did the defence really depend that much on suspended Thiago Silva? Well, it seems so. Could the team cope at all with the loss of Neymar? Clearly not. Fred and Hulk were as cumbersome as ever. Oscar looked as lost as the day I saw him marooned in Griffin Park, Brentford, as Chelsea stumbled to an FA Cup draw against the Bees on a freezing January afternoon. Suddenly this Brazil team looked truly second rate. So much for my forecast.
Germany were awesome. Strong, organised, precise, hard-working, clinical. When Brazil imploded they took ruthless advantage. Muller, Kroos, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Ozil. All stepping up, in total control of midfield, where the game is won or lost. Klose’s goal making him top World Cup goalscorer of all time. The defence unbreakable.
In the second half, Brazil had an attacking spell, as Germany inevitably relaxed. Neuer, in goal, was imperious, blocking everything Brazil had to throw at him. He – and the defence – looked absolutely gutted when they let Oscar score right at the end. True winners.
The Brazilian crowd booed that goal. They were cheering Germany’s passing by the end. They had disowned their own side, their country. I shudder to think of the repercussions in a country were football is everything. Where they have never experienced a defeat like this. It may begin simply with shock, and sadness. (I’m sad myself to see Brazil so humbled). Then it will turn to anger. And then maybe realisation of what needs to change. But what is that something? Almost all of Brazil’s top players leave the country to play in Europe, where the riches are. Most of Germany’s players play in Germany still. As do the Spanish – let us not forget their recent dominance. Is it still possible to play the Brazilian way when hardly any of the team play in Brazil?
Germany now must be big favourites to win the World Cup. Except… maybe another team will emerge from the second semi looking as strong. Holland will always give Germany a good game. And Argentina still have the magic of Messi.