Even after the dust has settled on the first World Cup semi-final, the result of Brazil 1 Germany 7 is still hard to believe.
The host nation capitulated in 18 nightmare minutes, as their opponents ruthlessly fired five past the hapless Julio Cesar.
By the 29th minute Germany were incredibly five goals up and as they scored the third, fourth and fifth goals they almost looked embarrassed by the fact that it was so easy.
To say Brazil’s performance was woeful would be an insult to woeful. The opening 11 minutes of the game was very open and that worked against the hosts, as Thomas Muller was left completely unmarked to fire home from a corner kick.
Unfortunately that was a sign of things to come for the bewildered Selecao. Goal after goal went past Cesar. Germany striker Miroslav Klose rubbed salt into the Brazilian wounds by becoming the record ever World Cup scorer with the German second, by scoring his 16 World Cup goal, overtaking Brazilian hero Ronaldo in the process.
Former-Chelsea defender David Luiz was the player that the Brazilian fans and players were looking to for inspiration. However, the £40million PSG new boy was a liability at the heart of the Selecao defence.
The big-spending French outfit may just be asking for a refund on this performance. Luiz showed a lack of leadership, discipline and sense of responsibility in this game. The big haired centre-back is a free spirit, but his shortcomings as a defender were ruthlessly exposed by a clinical German display.
However, it would be unfair to just blame Luiz. Real Madrid full-back Marcelo played like a typical Brazilian marauding full-back. Unfortunately he was more like café than Cafu. The full-back is an experienced performer at the highest level, but gave Germany acres of space to exploit.
Former-City full-back Maicon looked his age and centre-back Dante was just not up to replacing the imperious Thiago Silva at the heart of the Brazil defence. The midfield was not much better either, as they left their defence brutally exposed.
I think it is best not to talk too much about the Brazilian forward known as Fred. If he is the best striker that the Brazilian national team has, then the Selecao are in big trouble. He was quite frankly a non-entity and not just in this clash but the whole tournament.
Brazil boss Luis Felipe Scolari showed blind faith in the striker and it simply did not pay off for the former-Chelsea boss.
Without star players Neymar and more importantly Thiago Silva Brazil looked less than average, they looked third rate. For some of those Brazilian players this could be the end of their international career, as last night’s clash was the Selecao’s most humiliating defeat in international football.
It would be unfair to put the result all down to Brazil being terrible, as tempting as it is. Germany was brilliant on the night. The visitors taught Brazil a footballing lesson that they will never be able to forget.
Germany’s incisive, quick passing was just too much for the bewildered Brazil defence anchored by captain chaos David Luiz. The midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger were outstanding.
Both got themselves on the scoresheet. Kroos scored twice in the first half and Khedira scored the fifth for Germany. However, it was their pressing and harrying that was a key to Die Mannschaft’s complete first half domination.
There were doubts over the fitness of Sami Khedira prior to the start of the tournament, but he blew all those doubts away with a commanding performance in this clash. Premier League Arsenal has been linked with a summer move for the Real Madrid star. On this evidence Los Blancos would be crazy to sell their midfield star.
Bayern Munich playmaker Toni Kroos produced a typically impressive performance for Germany. He has been linked with a big money move to join Khedira at the Bernabeu next season. The Bavarians may just be demanding a couple of extra million euros for the midfielder after this clash.
The key to Germany’s performance, apart from Brazil’s poor performance, was that their team seems to have such an excellent balance. They have the typical organisation of a German team, but also seem to have a freedom to play incisive passing football.
For much of the competition Joachim Low’s team have rather ground out results and not produced much flowing football. That changed in last night’s clash, as they hammered home their dominance against the home nation.
This result will go down as one of the most surprising in the history of football, never mind the World Cup, it was truly historic. The victory will send a signal of intent to whomever Low’s men face in the final that they are here to win the trophy.
Whoever they play in the final they will now be outstanding favourites, whatever happens between Argentina and Holland in tonight’s semi-final.
Neither of those teams will play as poorly against the Germans and the likes of Arjen Robben and Lionel Messi are in a completely different league to the ineffective Fred.
Brazil now faces a third-place play-off against the losers of tonight’s semi-final on Saturday. I doubt many of those Brazilian players who started against Germany will be looking forward to that encounter.
The fallout from last night’s defeat will no doubt result in a change of personnel on the pitch. Boss Scolari has taken responsibility for the defeat and may fall on his sword after Saturday’s third-place game.
However, it seems that Brazilian football is not what it used to be. Questions must now be asked about the quality of the players that the South American country is producing, because quite simply last night’s defeat was one of the most humiliating that football has ever seen.
Brazil went into this tournament pinning most of their hopes on outstanding talent Neymar, but in truth there are very few other players in the current Selecao team that are fit for that famous yellow shirt and last night’s defeat hammered home that message.
Could this Brazil team be the worse to ever reach a World Cup semi-final?