We all know what happened. We all know about it. It isn’t worth explaining. Brazil’s 7-1 loss to Germany in the Semifinal of the 2014 World Cup will go down as one of the biggest blowouts in sports history, considering how difficult it is to score in soccer, particularly at the World level. But why did it happen?
Brazil was a talented team in the 2014 World Cup, with Neymar Jr. being their main attraction. Brazil was placed in a group with one other good team: Mexico. Croatia and Cameroon were both not very good, with Cameroon being the butt of jokes, finishing with a GD of -8. They advanced to the Round of 16, where they defeated Chile, and then hit all the green lights against Colombia to advance to the Semifinals against Germany.
Brazil, firstly, should have never been in the Semifinal. Not taking anything away from Brazilians, their team, the fans, or anything, but Brazil just didn’t have enough talent on the roster, another part in which we’ll get to later. Their group was not very good, as Croatia was spurned by penalties and bad luck while Cameroon was just plain awful. As I sat in Bar Louie, eating appetizer food and watching the heated Brazil v. Chile match, it was actually one of the better and more heated games of the entire World Cup. The teams were very evenly matched, and had Chile not missed some golden scoring opportunities in regular time, it would have never gone to extra time or a penalty shootout. Once there, the Chileans had a chance to tie the penalty shots at 3 each, but their final shot was slightly off to the right, and smacked the post to secure a Brazil win.
As Chris Berman would say, “DOINK!”
After this match, the Brazilian team was widely regarded as a fluke. The team itself was focused on shaking that label, going into a game against Colombia, who had just rolled the now Luis Suarez-less Uruguay team. Brazil was slightly better than Colombia, and with good fortune and even better play (combined with poor play on the Colombia side), Brazil finished with a convincing 2-0 win. Despite the joy from winning, Brazil lost star player Neymar Jr. to a severe back injury, leaving some to wonder if Brazil could compete without their shining star. But from there, they advanced to the Semifinals.
Germany was a very powerful team to begin with, after being placed in Group G that was filled with feisty teams looking for a Round of 16 berth. Ghana, Portugal and the USA were all competitive teams, and the USA’s draw with Portugal muddles the Group G table a bit. Germany was a shoe-in to win the group, as they smashed Portugal 4-0, drew with Ghana and beat the USA 1-0. Germany finished first, with the USA finishing second, followed by Portugal and then Ghana, who, to their credit, played very well. After the US win, Germany set off to face Group H’s second place finisher, Algeria. People expected a rout of Algeria, but Germany quietly but firmly defeated them 2-1. Then came a matchup against France, who had won Group E. Germany again played very well, beating the French 1-0 in a game that had been producing hype all week. With the win over France, Deutschland advanced to the Semis to face Brazil.
The game started quietly, with no action in the first 10 minutes, but with Germany moving the ball effectively. Thomas Müller then hit the net in the 11′ mark, and a television commentator noted:
I can tell early. If Brazil doesn’t change what they’re doing on defense, Germany is going to cut them up.
And then they did. The rout was on, as Germany scored 4 goals in 6 minutes to go into halftime with a 5-0 lead. I honestly thought Germany was going to break 10, but mercifully they called off the dogs somewhat in the second half. It was like watching pinball. Brazil was playing a sort of defense that Germany really could grab hold of, and without giving Brazil a time to adjust, they went right for the jugular. Before the Brazilians knew what hit them, the game was an astounding 7-0, before “Oscar” scored a garbage-time goal in the 90th minute.
Dani Alves blamed the media coverage, although the blistering spotlight hadn’t stopped the supremely talented Brazil teams from winning the cup before.
After Germany’s 7-1 destruction of Brazil and Argentina’s barebones penalty win over the Netherlands, it was a Super Bowl XXV scenario:
AFC Championship, 1990: Bills beat Raiders 51-3. Embarrassing for L.A. and the second-worst defeat in their history.
NFC Championship, 1990: Giants beat 49ers 15-13 on a last-second field goal.
Super Bowl: Giants use ball control and time manipulation to beat the seemingly unstoppable Bills to win the championship.
Foolishly, I predicted that Argentina would take Germany to penalties and then win the game, and they nearly did. Germany stole it from Messi and company, scoring in the 113th minute.
Brazil, meanwhile, lost 3-0 to the 3rd place Netherlands. Outscored 10-1 in two games. It would put a tear in Pele’s eye.
- Brazil weren’t as good as they seemed, especially without Neymar
- Germany was a scoring machine who specialized in cutting through the defense Brazil was playing
- Brazil had a depleted defense
- The team was too distracted by where they were to play well
- Brazil played a crappy game, Germany played a really, really good one
- And, according to Dani Alves, the media made them lose