Germany crush Brazil 7-1 to reach World Cup final

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, July 9 (PNA/Kyodo) — Germany dealt Brazil the proud nation’s most humiliating defeat ever at the World Cup by destroying the five-time champions 7-1 to reach the final on Tuesday.

Toni Kroos and substitute Andre Schurrle each had a brace and Miroslav Klose, Thomas Muller and Sami Khedira chipped in with a goal apiece before Oscar’s finally pulled one back for the hosts in the final minute.

The 36-year-old Klose’s goal was the 16th of his career, a World Cup record. Germany, who had a 5-0 lead at halftime, will face either Argentina or the Netherlands in Sunday’s final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

Without injured No. 10 Neymar and suspended captain-defender Thiago Silva, Brazil suffered their worst loss at a World Cup since the 1998 final, where they lost 3-0 to hosts France.

When Schurrle bagged Germany’s seventh late in the second half, even the Brazilian fans gave the three-time winners a standing ovation, painfully acknowledging the dominant display.

“We realized early that Brazil were a bit upset and not clear in their actions,” Germany’s man of the match Kroos said. “We took advantage of the possibilities and scored one goal after another. We couldn’t believe it was 5-0 after the first half. It was a fantastic match.”

“We delivered a marvelous performance against the hosts. If someone said before the game we were going to win 7-1, I wouldn’t have believed it. But we’re here to become world champions and we have an extremely difficult final step to take.”

“I think this was Germany’s best international match ever. To beat Brazil in Brazil in a World Cup semifinal, I think it’s exceptional.”

Germany manager Joachim Low felt Brazil missed Silva’s leadership, which may have prevented Luiz Felipe Scolari’s from unraveling in the first half. The Paris Saint-Germain center-back was banned after being booked in Brazil’s 2-1 quarterfinal win over Colombia.

“We know from the Bundesliga that Thiago Silva is an excellent defender,” Low said. “It is difficult to fill his place. The goals we were able to score had the Brazilian team in shock.”

“If you have that many goals scored against you so quickly, it puts you under enormous pressure. They were getting nervous, opening up lots of space and just started playing long balls. The whole Brazilian team was having problems.”

No one could have imagined the turn of events in the opening half at Estadio Mineirao, where Brazil tried to blitz Germany by pressing their opponents early on.

But the visitors did well to keep their composure and rode out the wave of pressure in front of a deafening crowd of 58,141 before Muller opened the floodgates in the 11th minute.

Kroos swung in a right corner for the heart of the area, where Muller, to the surprise of many in the stadium, stood completely unmarked. David Luiz, wearing the armband in place of Silva, rushed to cover but it was too little, too late as the German striker beat Julio Cesar for his 10th goal in 10 career World Cup games.What happened over a six-minute span from the 23th minute was a blur, absolutely stunning everyone watching.

From the layoff by Muller, Klose carved out his own page of history by making it 2-0 off his own rebound and in the 25th minute, Kroos scored his first goal of the competition after a right-wing cross from captain Philipp Lahm.

Kroos took his tally to two before Brazil could catch their breath, netting from close range a minute later with the aid of Khedira to pad Germany’s advantage to four.

Germany were far from through, as Khedira opened his tournament account thanks to the assistance of Mesut Ozil after 29 minutes and at this point, some of the fans began filing out of the stadium. In the second half, Schurrle came off the bench to pour salt into Brazil’s wounds by striking on 69 and 79 minutes.

Oscar’s 90th-minute goal did little ease to the pain and Luiz, who had held up Neymar’s shirt during the singing of the national anthem, was in tears after the final whistle.

Scolari, whose team will now head to the third-place match in Brasilia on Saturday, refused to say whether he would step down and simply tipped his hat to his opposite number.

The former Portugal and Chelsea coach doubted if even having Neymar would have made a difference.

“My message to the Brazilian people, the fans is that we tried and did what we could do,” he said. “We did what we thought was our best and lost to a greater team with the skills to end the game by scoring three, four goals in six, seven minutes. I’m sorry we couldn’t reach the final.”

“Let’s not look for excuses. Germany imposed on us a fantastic rhythm and scored the goals to decide the game. This has nothing to do with Neymar. When we conceded the third, fourth and fifth goals it was decided. It’s nearly impossible to turn around a game like that against a team like Germany.”

“Naturally, if I were to look back on my career in football as a player and coach, this is the worst day of my life. But life goes on. I’m going to be remembered as the one who lost 7-1, but there was always that risk.” (PNA/Kyodo)