Brazil 1-7 Germany: 400 suicidal seconds that silenced a nation

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The most shambolic six minutes in football history

400 seconds isn’t a particularly large amount of time in any situation or context. It might be the length of time you have to wait for a train, or to boil an egg. Yet in 400 seconds, the hopes and dreams of nation were ripped to shreds.

There were exactly 400 seconds between Miroslav Klose’s record breaking goal to make it 2-0 and Sami Khedira’s tap in to make it five. In between, Toni Kroos scored the third and fourth goals in 70 alarming seconds. The world watched on, stunned. The host nation had crumbled.

The rest of the match was somewhat irrelevant. At 5-0, Brazil’s only option was to play for pride, but imagine having to maintain your focus whilst being utterly humiliated on home soil. How difficult it must have been for those players to ignore the crying fans and thoughts of the bloody aftermath. When Khedira scored at 28 minutes and 48 seconds, it was no longer a football match. It was a public execution. But it wasn’t quick and painless. It was death by torture.

There’s never a good time to lose focus and discipline on a football pitch, but there are times when you can get away with it. Alarm bells must have been ringing in the opening match of the World Cup, as Croatia threatened to take a two goal lead against the host nation. But Croatia didn’t take advantage of Brazil’s frailties. One wondered if up against a better side, they’d be punished. Last night answered that emphatically.

Germany were nothing short of sensational. Most other teams, if put in a similarly commanding position, would have lost their own focus and started dreaming of the World Cup final. It wasn’t only an incredibly ruthless and clinical display, but it was a performance packed with maturity. There were eleven leaders on the pitch, refusing to celebrate a semi-final win until the referee blew for full-time. They knew the game was won, but there was still a job to be done. At 5-0, most would have relaxed, but this German team wanted to send a message out to their final opponents.

But for every brilliant German performer, there was a lifeless and lost Brazilian asking to be punished. Their two most influential players throughout the tournament – Neymar and skipper Thiago Silva – were missed enormously. But to blame last night’s performance on their absence would be overly generous to Brazil. We knew that they’d struggle without them, but to lose all discipline in the way they did in such a massive match is unforgivable. When Klose scored the second, Brazil were still in the match, albeit with a mountain to climb. They needed a leader to stand up and settle everyone down, and start again. But no-one was there. It was men against boys. David Luiz has the passion, he can score a great free-kick, but where was he when his country were in desperate need of a leader? In 400 breathtaking seconds, it became humiliation.

So where does this leave Brazil? Putting the scoreline to one side (which is obviously difficult to do), a semi-final defeat to Germany isn’t actually a bad result bearing in mind that this is one of, if not the most ordinary Brazil side ever. It’s a tragedy for their brilliant fans that their World Cup run had to end in nightmarish fashion. If they had lost 3-1, it still would have been a terrible day for Brazilian football, but surely it is recognised that this Brazil team aren’t blessed with immense talent like in previous years, so a defeat is understandable. But this was an embarrassment. A disaster. 400 suicidal seconds have cost these players their pride, and it will take a great deal to restore it.

 

 

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