Five-times World Cup winners Brazil had claimed victory in their last 62 games at home. But that all changed in the 2014 semi-final, leaving the host nation – and the interwebs – reeling.
Until Tuesday evening, Germany were just one among four contenders for the 2014 World Cup crown. They dominated against Portugal in the opening match, then drew against Ghana in a wonderful attacking game. In the knockout stage, they overcame Algeria, and then France, by just one goal.
But after a stunning performance of absolute dominance in Belo Horizonte against a Brazilian side who completely lost their way during a five-minute spell in the first half, Germany are now strong favourites to take the 2014 World Cup on Sunday.
This was the first time a team had ever scored seven goals in a World Cup semi-final – and the first time a semi-final saw five goals by half time.
And it wasn’t just Germany breaking records: the Brazil vs Germany game smashed Twitter records to become the most discussed single sports game in the history of Twitter. With a staggering 35.6m tweets, #BRA vs #GER beat Superbowl 48’s 24.9m tweets by a long way — as anyone who stumbled onto Twitter in disbelief during the game can testify.
The match also set a new record for tweets per minute, with a peak of 580,166 when Sami Khedira scored Germany’s stunning fourth goal.
As for Brazil, the country whose footballing style represents for so many the creative potential of “la joga bonito”, its national team face a long period of self-examination. And its political masters may fear that social discontent, said to be on hold as long as the country’s football team enjoyed success in the tournament, could erupt again as it did a year ago.
The team’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said his team’s crushing defeat was “the worst day” of his life, and laid the blame firmly on his own shoulders: “I will be remembered as the coach to lose 7-1 but I knew that risk when I took the job,” he said. “The person who decided the line-up, the tactics, was me. It was my choice.”
The the man who led Brazil to success in the 2002 World Cup had a message for theh Brazilian people: “please excuse us for this performance.”
The person who decided the line-up, the tactics, was me. It was my choice Brazil coach
Germany went ahead early in the 11th minute, courtesy of a volleyed Thomas Muller goal. Just 12 minutes later Miroslav Klose scored the Germans’ second, in the process moving ahead of the Brazilian striker Ronaldo to become the top goalscorer in World Cup history.
Three more goals in the next five minutes ensured that the Germans went in at half time with an apparently unassailable 5-0 lead. Chelsea defender Andre Schurrle put Germany 7-0 up in the second half. His club teammate Oscar netted a consolation goal for the home side in the final minute of normal time.
After the final whistle, Brazil manager Scolari walked onto the pitch to embrace players from both sides. The jeers that accompanied Brazil at the end of the first half were still there, but now more muted.
This country of 200 million people will now be forced to turn away from the fantasy and escapism of football. The prospect of another, even bigger sporting extravaganza in two years’ time in the shape of the 2016 Olympic Games will seem daunting.
But for Germany, a first World Cup in 24 years is now tantalisingly close.