Watch Brazil vs Germany live stream FIFA World Cup 2014 Semi Final
There must have been a moment when even those watching in their white Mannschaft shirts inside Estadio Mineirao wished it would end. Germans are only human, after all.
Admittedly, the 11 on the pitch seemed to be transcending that state at times, but those looking on, the mortals – they must have felt it like the rest of us.
It was simply too much. Too brutal. Too excruciating. Too painful to watch.
The home crowd did not go entirely quiet, but they stopped singing. There was a rumble, of chatter, of conversation, people trying to make sense of what they were seeing.
Six minutes of football that would live in the memory as long as the famous Maracanazo. From Brazil 0 Germany 1, to Brazil 0 Germany 5. In six minutes. Six minutes. It needed repeating, digesting.
There has, quite literally, never been a World Cup semi-final like this, the greatest winning scoreline in tournament history. That it was a victory inflicted on the mighty Brazil on home soil makes it truly astonishing.
It is hard to imagine any match so humbling, so ruinous, so opposite to what was expected. Brazil as a nation was ready for a battle, they knew it would be hard without Neymar and captain Thiago Silva. It would require all of their resolve to win. Yet they were pumped to bursting with hope, national pride and passionate, searing, bleeding emotion. The Maracana was in sight. The seventh step. Might the will of the people pull them through?
And then there it was, the terrible reality. All that desire, all that desperation and yearning.
Useless, the lot of it. If it was just about wanting to win a World Cup, schmucks could do it. Sadly, for Brazil, the schmucks departed this contest long ago. What remains is the best of the best. A German team that is young no longer, that is peaking, that may be the strongest group here. And they took Brazil apart. No, scratch that. Terms of triumph for bland Saturday afternoons have no place here. This was different. This was uncharted territory. An evisceration. An attenuation. Brazil had its insides torn out, was weakened, losing life and momentum with each heavy blow. The goals went in, and would not stop. And the crowd sat, helpless, like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, eyes pinned open, unable to turn away. It was unspeakably savage, beyond the realm of familiar audience experience.
All the emotion had gone into mourning Neymar’s absence. ‘Forca Neymar,’ said the baseball caps worn by Luis Felipe Scolari and his men, as they got off the bus at the stadium. Again, it was all too much. Heart ruling head. Brazil tried to win a World Cup on feelings.
Good defenders, that’s what it needs. Great goalscorers. Wonderful passers. Energy, inspiration, intelligence. Germany had all that, and were never troubled, not even by the outpouring of overwrought nationalism that sweeps Brazil into their World Cup matches. Brazil’s players sung the national anthem with Cesar and Luiz clutching Neymar’s empty shirt. Would it matter?
Bastian Schweinsteiger could still be seen grinning at kick-off. Happy in his skin. He knew Germany had a force more powerful than the power of prayer.
So when Germany forced the first significant attack of the game after eight minutes, it was no surprise. Sami Khedira’s shot was heading for goal until it struck a team-mate, but this misfortune was soon forgotten. The next five German attacks ended in goals, in what may be the most remarkable passage of play in the history of this competition.
The first, 11 minutes in, was uncomplicated enough, a Toni Kroos corner that found Thomas Muller inexplicably unmarked eight yards out, Dante and David Luiz both drawn away by decoy runs, like small children distracted by a shiny thing. The finish looked easy, but wasn’t, Muller needed to take the ball on the volley, but with enough calm to keep it on target. He did everything right. He often does.
In the meantime, at the other end, Philipp Lahm made the tackle of the night on a marauding Marcelo, just to show it wasn’t all about the forwards, and then it began – the wholesale destruction of a nation’s footballers and its football philosophy. Six minutes of shock, awe and heartbreak.
It began with a crossfield pass by Muller that Fernandinho should have cut out, but didn’t. There followed a superb interchange of passes between Kroos, Miroslav Klose and Muller again, that ended with Klose forcing a save from Julio Cesar. The ball rebounded to his feet and he made no mistake second time – to become, with 16 goals, the World Cup’s top scorer unopposed, moving one ahead of Brazil’s Ronaldo. It would have served as an omen, had Brazil been given time to consider the influence of charms.
A minute later, Lahm surged down the right, crossed, and when Muller missed his kick – a rare aberration – Kroos struck his shot straight as an arrow leaving Cesar no chance. An uneasy quiet settled on the arena. The game was gone now, and dignity was clinging by its fingertips.
Not for long. Almost from the restart Fernandinho lost possession, and Kroos and Khedira advanced on goal, unselfishly swopping passes almost as if they were reluctant to apply the final thrust of the sword. In the end, it fell to Kroos to administer this blow. He did what he had to do.
Those that play FIFA 14 may have experienced the accidental setting of the controls to ‘amateur’. Watching Brazil’s defence now felt like that. They were in disarray, disorganised, clueless, lost. Mesut Ozil cut the ball back to Khedira for the fifth on 29 minutes and the stadium audibly gasped.
Cameras that usually focus on happy, smiling – invariably white – Brazilian faces, now found only tears. Green and yellow paint was smeared, the default national characteristic – a broad beam – was absent. It wasn’t just the game that was gone, a piece of Brazil’s soul appeared to have disappeared with it too. When Uruguay won in the Maracana in 1950, the commentator kept repeating the phrase ‘gol do Uruguay’ over and over again, as if unable to comprehend the event. It was similar here. All around the ground. ‘Cinco…cinco…’
‘Brace yourself – the sixth is coming,’ says the slogan on Brazil’s team bus. It refers to a pending World Cup victory, but here took on a new meaning. Andre Schurrle fulfilled the dreaded prophecy, from a neat square pass by Lahm, in the 69th minute. The same player chipped the hopeless, hapless Cesar for the seventh ten minutes later.
With that goal, it officially became the worst night of football in Brazil’s history. Oscar scored in injury time, although by then everyone had seen quite enough.
An hour after the final whistle, the ground now cleared, bar the German contingent, the victors reappeared for a last salute. It was starting to sink in now, and for Brazil the pain was only just beginning.