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Giants humbled

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, July 10, 2014

"THIS is so heartbreaking."

That's what devoted Brazil fan Isi — who works for our IT department — said at the half-time break when the 2014 World Cup hosts were down by five goals to Germany in the semi-final.

I didn't see him around the TV during most of the second-half. I guess he made the right choice judging from the lethargic first-half performance of the five-time World Cup champions.

Brazil was simply lost in the game. The players had no clue what was happening around them. The fans were frustrated while the Germans ran rampage to score a historic 7-1 win.

It's brutal beyond words. How do you describe such humiliation of a team that has been rated so highly in this World Cup? Thank goodness I'm not a Brazil fan. Bad luck Tex, Ravai, Suzie, Isi and the other loyal Brazilian fans.

Germany was obviously the favourites heading into the match but no one expected them to win so extraordinarily.

There was still hope that Brazil could do it without their star player Neymar and skipper Thiago Silva.

While many thought that Neymar's exclusion was the team's biggest blow, it was Silva they missed the most.

David Luiz was nowhere near to Silva's calibre and failed badly to hold the defence together against the formidable German outfit.

The crisp passing of the European giants left the Brazilians clueless. They were caught napping time and again.

When Thomas Muller scored in the 11th minute, Brazil was desperate to get on the scoring sheet and left their defence exposed.

The floodgates opened in the 23rd minute through Miroslav Klose who became the leading all-time World Cup goalscorer and for the next six minutes, it rained goals. (Spoiler alert — Germany scored more goals in three minutes than England did in the entire World Cup).

In the second-half, Brazil looked better and managed to patch on its defensive flaws but then lacked the firepower upfront to get the goals.

This was a historic match in many ways. But how will people remember this game — Brazil's worst defeat or Germany's greatest win?

In fact, Brazil was so bad that we are left wondering whether we actually witnessed a truly great performance. Spain must be breathing a sigh of relief.

Off the field, picks over some of the feats from the astonishing fixture in Belo Horizonte:

* The largest winning margin in a World Cup semi-final. The previous best were Argentina's 6-1 victory over the USA and Uruguay's 6-1 triumph against Yugoslavia in 1930 and West Germany's 6-1 win against Austria in 1954.

* Brazil equalled its largest margin of defeat. Its heaviest loss had been 6-0 to Uruguay in the 1920 Copa America.

* Brazil conceded 11 goals at World Cup 2014, equalling the number it allowed in 1938.

* Brazil's first home defeat in a competitive match since 1975, when it lost 3-1 to Peru in the Copa America semi-final. The Brazilians had gone 63 matches without a defeat.

* The first time Brazil had ever conceded seven goals in a World Cup match. It has only conceded more once in any fixture, an 8-4 loss to Yugoslavia in a friendly in 1934.

* Miroslav Klose became the leading scorer in World Cup history. His goal was his 16th, one more than former Brazil striker Ronaldo.

* Klose also became the first man to play in four World Cup semi-finals.

* Klose has been on the winning side 16 times at the World Cup, equalling the record set by former Brazil fullback Cafu.

* Thomas Muller's goal was Germany's 2000th in all matches played. Fritz Becker got its first in 1908.

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