BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil – Germany produced a stunning and spectacular destruction of host nation Brazil on Tuesday, racking up an extraordinary 7-1 victory in the first World Cup 2014 semifinal.
A sensational attacking burst, combined with some miserable Brazil defending, put the European side into a 5-0 lead within the first 30 minutes and drained every shred of hope from the home fans and their shell-shocked team.
"We delivered a marvelous performance against the host," said Germany midfielder Toni Kroos, who was voted Man of the Match. "If somebody had said before that we were going to win 7-1, I wouldn't have believed it."
"The Germans were better. They were better prepared," defender David Luiz said with tears in his eyes. "This is a very sad day."
Even without its main star Neymar, Brazil was widely considered to be an even match for the Germans heading into the game. How wrong that was.
Thomas Mueller got Germany’s first after 11 minutes for his fifth goal in six games at this tournament. Mueller was left unmarked by David Luiz and connected cleanly with a corner from the right to put his team ahead.
Then it got really ugly, really quickly. Miroslav Klose struck the second on 23 minutes to break the all-time tournament scoring record, eclipsing Brazil’s Ronaldo as he moved to 16.
Within 170 seconds, Germany had added two more, both from Kroos, both the result of lapses in the backline. It was over already, but there was still more to come.
Sami Khedira slid home a fifth on 29 minutes as the crowd struggled to come to terms with what it was seeing. There was still an hour to go and it would only get worse.
"After five goals, we still had some chances and we still had some opportunities, but still, we lost to a great team in Germany," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "Even [the German team] said after the match, 'What happened?' It was because of their skills and their goals and we respect that."
Andre Schurrle added two more, even with Germany easing up in the second half, and the crowd began to ironically cheer for the opposition. Oscar scored late for Brazil to make it 7-1, but in all honesty that only served to rub more salt in the gaping wounds.
"The result was not to be expected. Three goals were scored in four minutes and that was a great shock for the host," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. "You realized they were confused and we realized that we could take advantage of their confusion."
"We were lucky that the hosts were not that well-organized and shocked and we took advantage of that," Loew added. "But we will have to refocus and get ready for the final."
Brazil still has another game to go, too – the much-maligned, often-ignored third-place playoff. It is a game it never wanted to be part of, and, given the reaction of the locals here, won’t enjoy much support at.
"I don't have any debt. I did my job. I did what I thought was my best," Scolari said. "We have one defeat. For 1½ years, we've only lost three times. Yes, this was a terrible result. You want to catch up and make it less of a disaster."
"The German team is stronger. Now it's time to get back home and meet our families," goalkeeper Julio Cesar said. "We got close to the final but I congratulate everybody [in Brazil] for everything."