Brazilian football fans around the world are in mourning after they witnessed a German team dismantle their heroes on home turf.
Where the group stage witnessed a record-high number of goals, and the round of 16 showed dramatic showdowns with five out of eight matches going into extra time, the quarterfinals were much tighter matches. The match Argentina – Belgium for example, witnessed only three shots on goal, the lowest number in a World Cup knock-out match since 1990.
The World Cup Final is approaching and the last week of football has once again not failed to entertain. Daily News Egypt guides you through the competition, match by match.
Brazil 1 – 7 Germany
Brazil conceded five goals to Germany in 29 minutes in a shocking semi-final that ended 7-1 in Belo Horizonte, leaving the Brazilian players and fans in tears at the final whistle.
The five time champions began the game with a tribute to injured star Neymar, with some players holding his shirt during the national anthem. Also out of the game was captain Thiago Silva, whose absence in defence was plain to see as the Brazilians saw seven goals hit the back of the net.
Thomas Muller opened the scoring early on when a Toni Kroos corner looped over the Brazilian defence allowing the striker a free volley and Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar unable to make a save.
Things just got worse for Brazil from then on – in the space of six minutes they found themselves 5-0 down.
Miroslav Klose scored on the 23rd minute to become the competition’s all time top scorer and trigger a period of chaos in the Brazilian defence. The home crowd watched in disbelief as Kroos scored twice in under three minutes followed by a Sami Khedira goal a few minutes later. The Brazilian defence seemed only able to look on as the Germans passed their way to the goal, almost toying with the floundering Brazilian defenders.
The shell shocked Brazilian team went in at half-time 5 goals down, which was already their biggest World Cup defeat since their 3-0 defeat to France in the 1998 final. The Brazilians may have preferred to not come out on to the pitch after the break, and the Germans had not finished.
Chelsea striker André Schürrle scored twice in the 69th and 79th minutes to take the game to 7-0, making Germany the first team to score seven goals in a World Cup semi-final. Schürrle’s first was a tap in from a low cross by Philipp Lahm, his second saw him collect the ball at the edge of the penalty box and strike the ball hard onto the underside of the cross bar and over the line.
Schürrle’s Chelsea teammate Oscar scored a consolation goal for the Brazilians in the 90th minute, prompting some cheers from the stands, but after the final whistle many of the Brazilian players broke down in tears. It was a sad and shocking ending for the host’s World Cup dream.
The Germans will play the winner of Wednesday’s semi-final match between Argentina and the Netherlands.
France 0-1 Germany
The first quarterfinal was a clash between the two European giants, France and Germany. France impressed during the group stage with clear victories over Honduras (3-0) and especially Switzerland, which was beaten 5-2 in a swirling football show. Ahead of the match, not many observers would have tipped the young French team as a favourite for the World Cup title, but led by striker Benzema they emerged as a strong and attractive team.
All-time favourite Germany started their tournament very promisingly, even surpassing expectations, beating fierce group opponent Portugal 4-0, with a leading role for Thomas Muller, scoring three times. However, the German team looked more vulnerable in following games, facing a near draw against Ghana (2-2) and a close win over USA (1-0).
On paper the Germany-France clash might have been the most promising of the four quarterfinals, but the actual match lacked the fireworks some fans might have expected. As both teams faced a hard time overcoming seemingly easy opponents in the round of 16 – Germany beat Algeria only in extra time, and France secured victory over Nigeria in the last 10 minutes – they played with caution.
After French fired a first shot at goal in the opening phase of the match, Germany took an early lead as Mats Hummels converted a free kick into a goal with a header in the 13th minute.
The 1-0 score forced Les Blues to seek the initiative, and put Germany in the position to focus on disrupting French attacks, a task they fulfilled successfully. During the remainder of the match the French team rarely succeeded to break through the German defence, and always finding the outstanding goalkeeper Neuer in their way when they did. On the other side, die Mannschaft had opportunities to double the score, but substitute Schurrle, decisive in the previous match against Algeria, failed to convert an open chance into a goal. With the cool Neuer stopping a final attempt by Benzema in the stoppage time, Germany made it to the semi-finals for the fourth time in a row.
Brazil 2-1 Colombia
The pressure on host country Brazil took tremendous forms after their near elimination against Chile in the round of 16. Despite ending first in their group after two victories and one draw, the performance of the Divine Canaries was disappointing. Thereby Captain Thiago Silva cried after winning the penalty shoot-out with Chile, according to Brazilian media a sign that he could not handle the pressure.
On the other hand, quarterfinal opponent Colombia was lauded as the most solid performer of the World Cup so far, with four straight, clear wins and an excelling James Rodriguez as top scorer of the tournament.
Peculiarly it was Silva himself scoring the first goal of the match in the 7th minute. The first half witnessed a furious Brazilian side targeting the Colombian goal regularly and keeping Colombia star Rodriguez in check with tough tackles.
But as a second goal did not materialise, and Colombia increasingly embraced a do-or-die mentality, the Brazilian defence started to shake. A Colombian goal was cancelled for off side, before David Luiz seemed to decide the match in the 69th minute converting a magnificent free kick to a goal, scoring 2-0 and unleashing an outburst of joy of both the Brazilian crowd and players.
However, 10 minutes later the referee granted Colombia a penalty after a charge of goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who could have seen a red card instead of yellow. Rodriguez revived hopes in the Colombian hearts scoring the penalty, but in the remainder of the match Brazil kept their sheet clean, advancing to the semi-finals against Germany.
The victory did not come without sacrifices. Silva misses the Germany match because of a second yellow card, and even more striking, Barcelona star Neymar’s fractured vertebra after a seemingly reckless foul of defender Zuniga has ruled him out for the rest of the tournament.
Argentina 1-0 Belgium
Argentina booked their semi-final place through an 8th minute volley from Gonzalo Higuain that seemed to catch the Belgian defence by surprise.
The young Belgian side failed to produce many concrete chances on goal, with Marouane Fellaini coming closest with a header over the bar from a Jan Vertonghen cross. The tall Manchester United forward was the target man for the Belgians who continuously launched long balls in his direction.
On the other side Lionel Messi played beautifully, despite not making it onto the score sheet. He displayed the type of play he does week in and week out for Barcelona, dribbling out of seemingly impossible situations. The four-time Ballon d’Or winner began the move that lead to Higuain’s winning goal. Messi took possession of the ball after a careless mistake from Belgian captain Vincent Kompany in his own half. Messi passed the ball on to Angel Di Maria whose deflected pass found Higuain. The Napoli striker hit the ball first time on the edge of the box with the Belgian defence rooted to the spot, with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois only able to watch the ball sail past him into the net.
Argentina will play the Netherlands in the semi-final, their first appearance at this stage of the competition since 1990.
Netherlands 0-0 Costa Rica (Netherlands win 4-3 on penalties)
Tim Krul came on in the dying moments of extra time to face the Costa Rican penalty takers and emerged as the hero after saving two penalties to see the Dutch through to the semi-finals.
Costa Rica was seen largely as the underdogs in this match-up but the Central Americans were able to hold off a Netherlands side that has produced some impressive performances in the competition.
The Dutch had the best chances of the game hitting the woodwork three times, twice through Wesley Sneijder and Robin Van Persie’s header was palmed onto the cross bar by Costa Rican keeper Keylor Navas.
Navas, who conceded only two goals from open play in the tournament, showed once again his prowess in goal. He dived to prevent Sneijder’s bending free kick from going in the top corner and was on hand again to save a shot from Van Persie. He was instrumental in taking the game to extra time and penalties.
Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, who is set to take over Manchester United later this year, made a surprising substitution just moments before the referee blew the final whistle in extra time. Krul came on for a confused Jasper Cillessen and it turned out to be an inspired decision.
Following the shootout, in which Krul saved penalties from Bryan Ruiz and Marcos Urena, the Netherlands goalkeeper revealed he informed the Costa Ricans that he knew which way they were going to shoot. Head games aside, Krul guessed the right direction for every Costa Rican kick, securing a semi-final match against Argentina.