Last night was so full of falling stars in football that it seemed to be a dream or fantasy and certainly a nightmare for many. Brazilian team, which was predicted to win against Germany by many including myself, exhibited the most unbelievably terrible, shocking and unreasonable sights of football. Scolari’s over ambitious and over-confident team saw what could be labelled as the most disappointing loss of World Cup’s history of later stages in the wake of their pursuit for another place in the finals.
There were a lot of factors in the build-up of this semi-final which had dared the Brazilians fans to hope for their team to outperform Germany in this match. The injury of Neymar had rejuvenated an even bigger fire and passion to succeed in the cup. Another huge fact was the hunger and desperation of winning the world cup at their own soil in front of their fans. Furthermore, Brazil had also managed to jot up a team that was very talented and had the knack to take them to the finals especially with the home advantage.
Even before the World Cup had begun, Scolari had made a clear-cut claim that Brazil would be the champion of this World Cup. With the recent developments of Brazil in the tournament, Scolari had once again expressed that Brazil already has one of their hands on the trophy. However, in the post comments of the match, he had something different to say this time.
He said, “Today was the worst day of my life – but life goes on. My message for the Brazilian people and fans is that we tried to do what we could do, our best, versus a great team. They finished off the match in three or four minutes with some fantastic goals… But we are going to continue working hard to keep improving. I’m sorry we could not reach our goal. The fans supported us even when it was five, six, or seven down to Germany. I am responsible for this catastrophic result. I made the choices. I was responsible. We ask for forgiveness. To the people, please excuse us for this negative mistake.”
He further added “What happened today had little to do with how we had been playing. We lost control… that’s not normal but it happens. It was one goal after the other. It was like we blanked out. We tried to talk to them, to organize them. There was nothing we could do. A coach makes choices and has to deal with consequences. I don’t have any regrets for the choices I made. Trying to turn around a 5-0 after the first half is impossible. They (the German team) had their best match today. Us? Our worst!”
Scolari also went on to prove the pointless claims of many people wrong who thought that the absence of Neymar was the reason behind the humiliation of Brazil.
Scolari said "No, no, no. Let’s not try to find an excuse in Neymar or the emotions of the anthem. I don’t think it would have been different with Neymar. He’s a striker. Germany probably could have done that with Neymar in the side, also. He wouldn’t have known how to defend those moves for the second, third, fourth and fifth goals.”
However, there is no doubt that the absence of Thiago Silva has hurt Brazil the most in this match. Not only did it show how vulnerable Brazil’s defense is without him but it also proved how flawless and worthy a player their talismanic captain is. When Jose Mourinho said that it’s not Neymar, but Thiago Silva that Brazil will miss the most, people like Gaizka Mendieta questioned his comments and reinforced his opinion that Brazil will indeed miss Neymar the most. But once again, Jose Mourinho was spot on as the Brazilian defense looked to be consisted of some school boys defending for their nation with Silva.
Apart from the absence of Silva, it was the coach Luiz Felipe Scolari who got it all wrong and he admitted doing so. His tactics from the start were careless and tactically inept. He simply took the wrong personnel with him to play against Germany. It was not less than a stupidity to employ Defensive Midfielders and Centre Midfielders out wide and having no tactical midfielder to hold the shape and having no number 10 to create and provide. Had Ramires and Paulinho been deployed in the very center of the ground with Oscar in pivot and Willian on the wings with Hulk, the face and story of the match could realistically have been different. Another mistake Scolari committed was not selecting people like Coutinho, Lucas Moura and Pato in his squad. They are all phenomenal players and could have definitely been useful, especially after the injury of Neymar. Furthermore, Fernandinho, Marcelo,David Luiz, Bernard and Hulk were so bad on the pitch that they seemed like a few headless chickens running without a clue in the ground.
On the other hand, Germany played the most splendid football one can see. They were brilliant in defending, devastating on the counter and had some glorious passes going on in the game.
There’s a famous story about the career of Alfredo Di Stefano, the Argentine legend who sadly passed away this week. During 1940’s, the River Plate side of Di Stefano was so dominant that they employed a sporting tactic known as ‘Five and dance’ where this team would play exhibition football after having attained a five goal lead and not attempt to score another goal until their oppositions scored one.
It could have been a perfect tribute to De Stefano had Germany started to toy with Brazil after scoring 5-0 in the first half, but that was never the case, as the Germans went on to humiliate Brazil further by adding two more to their already impressive score-line. The Germans were extremely immense in their game, especially Neuer, Kroos, Muller, Schurrle and Khedira and they have indubitably proven a point to be the favourites for lifting the Word Cup 2014.
Another highlight of the match that was overshadowed by the Brazil’s horrendous performance was the goal of Klose that broke the record for the most goals scored at the world cup finals with 16 goals on his name now.
Following are some more stats that need to be highlighted:
• The biggest defeat of Brazil in World Cup history
• Brazil’s worst ever defeat at home
• The biggest World Cup semi-final defeat of all time
• Since 1938, it is the first time when Brazil have lost a World Cup semi-final
Some thoughts on the Argentina vs Netherland Semifinal:
Both these teams are playing fantastic football in the tournament; however it is only Argentina who comes close to matching the German team for individual quality.
Louis Van Gaal’s men would be very much aware of Messi in the match and I won’t be surprised if they employ De Jong just to mark Messi in the game. Van Gaal has been very well and spot on in his tactics and he will definitely be looking to extract another tactical genius win out of this match. However the quality and strength of Argentina can prove to be too good for Robben, Van Persie and Co.
The absence of Angel Di Maria will definitely be felt but they have more than enough talent to cover for him and give a great contest to Netherland.
Prediction: This match certainly does not look to be one sided as the other semi-final in this World cup and it will certainly offer more competitiveness. However, I predict Argentina to win this match 3-2.