German efficiency the key to semi-final win, not poor Brazilian defending

Date: 9th July 2014 at 12:18pm
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While many were happy to point to the absence of Thiago Silva and the all round defensive shambles that epitomised Brazil’s seven-goal capitulation praise should not be withstanding for a Germany team that went about dismantling the hosts with stunning efficiency.

Unlike the Selecao,who had once again been full of the emotion as the match commenced, not to mention the somewhat overzealous ‘mourning’ of the loss of Neymar, the Nationalmannschaft simply followed the instructions of coach Joachim Low as the Brazilians lost any shape whatsoever chasing any scrap of dignity they could.

Taking the lead in a match as important as a World Cup semi-final can understandably prompt a temporary defensive retreat not to lose your advantage as the opponents battle back to reclaim equilibrium, and more so when facing the tournament hosts and a crowd baying for your demise, therefore, that the Germans continued to press Brazil was more than admirable.

From start to finish the Germans were organised, hard-working and most importantly clinical with it, yet the almost automated way at which they go about reaching the later stages of international tournaments was epitomised by Thomas Muller’s comment after the game that “It just went well today”, something almost expected when every part of the machine is working at optimum performance, although he admitted that he could barely believe the margin of victory.

It is true that with Silva unavailable to marshal the defence and with the man with which that duty fell David Luiz losing any sense of defensive responsibilities once Miroslav Klose had clinch the all-time World Cup goalscoring record and doubled the Nationalmannschaft’s lead did not help.

4423842There was a moment when the Germans were still only one goal ahead that highlighted the concern the Brazilians had at falling behind in the absence of their two most important players, when full-back Marcelo broke into the penalty area only for Philipp Lahm to stop him in his tracks with a wonderful sliding tackle.

As the Real Madrid man had his penalty appeal correctly waved away he and his teammates surrounded the referee almost begging for the foul to be awarded their look of desperation made it clear that they lacked confidence in their ability to recover without star man Neymar.

With their heads spinning at the scenario of a World Cup semi-final exit on home soil the Europeans smelt blood, before you knew it they had capitalised on the hesitancy of the Selecao players and it was 5-0 before they could blink.

The Brazil players seemingly following the lead of captain for the night Luiz it was hard to see what positions they occupied and it allowed the precision passing of the Germans to find their teammates in exactly the areas they would have planned beforehand and simply picked them off at will.

Germany now encounter an entirely different proposition at the Maracana on Sunday night as Argentina and the Netherlands possess more cohesive, if vulnerable, defensive units and tactical awareness than Brazil displayed in Belo Horizonte.

As the ‘Ole’s’ rang out from the home crowd during the closing exchanges the Nationalmannschaft could well find themselves the crowd favourites on July 13, even if facing bitter rivals the Netherlands and not the host countries arch nemesis neighbours Argentina, but will still need to overcome the mental hurdle of 18 years of ultimately failing to succeed on the international stage.

However, whatever the result in Sao Paulo on Wednesday night, and despite the Diego Maradona inspired loss to La Albiceleste in 1986 final, the Germans will go into the match with the psychological advantage of already inflicted World Cup final misery upon each of their potential opponents when clinching their last two world titles in 1974 and 1990.

Follow Kevin Pogorzelski on Twitter: @rabbitrabbiton


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