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Jack: Magnificent Germany batter mentally fragile Brazil

Kristian Jack
7/8/2014 5:59:04 PM
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It was a 'where were you when' moment.

A day when Brazilian football crumbled. A day when they were embarrassed on the largest stage of all, in front of 200 million of their closest friends.

The writing was on the wall very early. It was a ridiculously open game from kick off.

In the 4th minute, Miroslav Klose picked up the ball and Thomas Muller was all alone on the right side. Klose didn't make the pass and the Bayern man was fuming.

Two more chances followed, both via Muller open on the right, but Germany were still better even at 0-0.

Then it came. Fittingly, from a set piece.

It will be forgotten about by many – four goals scored in six minutes will do that to you – but when Muller volleyed home a Toni Kroos corner it changed the mindset of both teams.

Here was this Germany team, ready to finally get over a significant hurdle, not wanting to wait a long time to insert their dominance.

On the other side stood a Brazilian team high on energy, but clearly fragile. A team, and a nation, that had drowned themselves in self pity for four days. Fifteen minutes before Muller opened the scoring, the host nation had sung their heart out for the national anthem holding up the jersey of Neymar as if he was inside an intensive care unit.

Germany, the kings of mental toughness, will have seen that as a weakness even before a ball was kicked.

In the buildup to the match, observers had wondered if Brazil had crossed the narrow line between a rallying, motivational tool and having a complete, utter obsession with it.

When Germany opened the scoring, we got our answer. Following the winning goal against France, via Mats Hummels from a Toni Kroos corner, Joachim Low spoke about how he had learned to rely more on set play moves. Bastian Schweinsteiger had spoke about Bayern Munich's Pep Guardiola's obsession with them. Germany, after all, should know more than most about them.

2010 World Cup semifinal, Durban, South Africa as told by Xavi:

"At half-time, Puyol said we had taken three or four corners already and said if you put it near the penalty spot, then we could cause problems."

In the 73rd minute at Durban that day, Xavi produced another stunning assist in a major game, and Puyol did exactly what he said. 1-0 Spain. Another victory won by their brilliance on and off the pitch.

2012 Champions League final, Munich.

Bayern Munich leading 1-0 against Chelsea. Then Didier Drogba scores on Chelsea's first corner of the entire game before winning on penalties.

The image of Schweinsteiger shaking on the penalty spot less than an hour later was a very disturbing image for German football.

It was an image of a loser.

Germany knew Schweinsteiger, and the rest of the golden generation the last decade has produced, were better than that.

A year later at Wembley, many of the core group of Low's team became winners; winners that arrived in Brazil knowing they had to put it together on the national stage.

A game against hosts Brazil in the World Cup, with or without their best players, certainly wouldn't have overawed this group.

The dominance started from the delivery of Kroos. David Luiz lost Muller and the Bayern man knew exactly where his teammate would put the corner.

Brazil were behind. It was a scenario that would seriously test a team playing with heavy hearts for their striker, who will likely be playing for Barcelona in two months.

David Luiz was at it again soon after. And so was Kroos. Fernandinho guessed incorrectly on a run to get the ball, Kroos found Muller whose brilliant move with Miroslav Klose left Luiz standing still. Incredibly, he stood and watched his marker make it 2-0 and break Ronaldo's record.

What happened next was absolutely disgraceful for the hosts.

Yes, Germany were ruthless, inspired by the magnificent duo of Kroos and Sami Khedira, but Brazil's display was pathetic.

Three goals in 179 seconds stunned the world. 4-0. Then 5-0 after less than 30 minutes.

Brazil were done. They are forced to play another match at this World Cup but they will be best served to start as many players as they can who didn't suffer this footballing massacre. In truth, it will be hard for their professional careers to ever get over this.

In the end, the game showed us what frauds they were at this tournament. Average against Croatia, they needed a terrible refereeing decision to get them a victory on the tournament's first day. Against Mexico, they were not much better and the moment Cameroon raised concerns over Dani Alves, Marcelo and David Luiz (three-quarters of the back four!), it was clear they needed to be much better to win the World Cup.

Chile and Colombia ran them close but they never came up across a team that had as much quality and big game experience as this German team. It is one thing to be beaten by a much stronger, talented team, it is quite another to crumble and play with pity. Throughout the demolition, Brazil never once showed an emotion as strong as they did while holding up Neymar's shirt. Not even in anger.

As for Germany, it is a victory that will make them all-time greats, providing they complete the job on Sunday.

We have been waiting for true greatness to step up at this World Cup. The Brazilian collapse will hit the headlines today but if Germany lifts the trophy inside the Maracana on Sunday, they will go down as a very special team indeed: a team that made history by completing the biggest victory in World Cup semi final history.

Brazil should be remembered for being pathetic but to win a semifinal 7-1 is an incredible achievement. We should not forget just how good Germany played.



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