Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brazil massacred 7-1 by Germany in 2014 Fifa World Cup semis

It was an amazing shapeless team set-up and the uninspiring team performance ever as Brazil started the match with several players ahead of the ball, and the tactics seemed to border around playing the long ball to by-pass the midfield. It seems Fillipe Scolari tried to deal with the absence of Neymar and Thiago Silva by introducing a new playing style. The probable understanding could have been that the firepower of Die Mannschaft engine room could not be overcome by playing through midfield. The other line of thought would include scoring that early goal through those means and then play the beautiful game the Samba way later. It never was.  

Brazil suffered the most humiliating defeat ever by Germany as they suffered an embarrassing 7-1 massacre. The emphatic win proved a ruthless German side fancied themselves to lift the Cup. As much as Brazil defended horribly and despite all that can be said about the absence Thiago Silva. The shape was so bad in the offensive movement that even Neymar could not have kept the team together.

Before the avalanche started, the record world champions looked threatening with all balls falling into the penalty box, but Germany were content to contain the missile launch and mount their own counter attacks. It became obvious that the longer the fans waited for the goals, the more frustrated Brazil grew. The impatience of the hosts led to the indiscipline as the team’s tactical behaviour got deformed by the minute. Dnte and David Luiz were guilty of roaming astray outside the bounderies of central defenders and played too far ahead and too wide of each other. They kept outside between the four upright goal posts, either on the same side or wide. Germany played some part in that as they worked on stretching the pair, as well as working on opening the wing backs and drawing them away from the central defenders.

This task became easy courtesy of the attacking appetite of Maicon and Marcelo. Luiz Gustavo and Ferdinandinho failed to give cover to the erratic pair of Luiz and Dante. They were attracted off position easily and failed to link up efficiently with Oscar and Hulk. With the attacking power of the Germans and a team like Netherlands, the necessity of airtight midfield screening could never be over-emphasised. The midfield needed to be the first layer of obstacles and then each defender behind them would have formed a secondary barrier giving cover to the front shield. The most sensible thing should have been each midfielder having a sweeper, each defender closer to the next behind that line. The funnel shape could easily make entry into the box extremely difficult.

The South Americans conceded a soft corner kick in their forays to get a goal meant to cool the nerves when Germany attacked from the wing. All personnel got sucked into the near post and exposed the second post. David Luiz failed to track Muller as he German striker made a shallow pocket run to the far post. By the time his marker picked him up, Muller had timed the flight of the ball and angled his foot to tap the ball with the inside right part of his boot past Julio Cesar. The yawning gap could have been utilised by a supporting player a few steps further to Thomas Muller.

The Brazilian defence got exposed further when Luiz and Dante found themselves facing their goalkeeper while the second goal was scored. There was some inter-passing on the right and a perfect delivering of the low cross that was cut-back found Klose who took a second bite on the ball to score after a block by Cesar. The ball to the crossing position should have been punched away from traffic, be well-defended, and the cross should have been closed down and denied and that ball to the central position outside the D-zone was better intercepted.  The sequence errors complicated things further as the central defence conceded the goal while facing Julio Cesar.

Similar to the first goal, Cesar needed to command his defenders to watch the blind side and surround himself with quality security. Lack of tactical awareness by Brazil further damaged the campaign when the team shape worsened as the defence sought to make amends by going forward. Regardless of the forward marching of the defenders, Germany had a plan to keep the central defenders apart as well as keeping the wing defenders as far away from the central defenders as possible. Dante and Luiz found themselves on either side of the central channel or on the same channel at the same time. At that level of the game, it is criminal to leave the central channel, with at least one central defender expected to stay between the four upright post at any given time.  

The second goal gave the German attack the impetus to go forward. The quick exchange of passing and clinical finishing characterised a sweeping move that started from the back and flowed to the right. The cross was met the industrious Kroos who tripled the score. Brazil became nervous and gave away the cheapest goal of all. In trying to play themselves out of danger from the back, the ball was lost within metres of Cesar’s goal. The German forwards fore-checked and won the ball high and forced a five versus two, Mezuit Ozil laying the ball to Kroos to score his double. The defence static and ball-watched as the ball came across the box.

The defence was caught flat-footed when they tried to launch an attack from the back through a central position. Hummels picked up the ball, surged forward and eliminated a few Brazilians by a quality pass. The finish was exquisite and goal tally was five in a space of 6 minutes. Brazilian defence was always in sixes and sevens in the box with each wave of attack. There were six defenders and three attackers exposing the goalkeeper.

The loss of the ball in wrong area and then being caught off-guard and being out numbered outlined a disaster recipe Brazil may never make again. The rampant nature of the Europeans took a break as the teams walked into the dressing rooms. The introduction of Ramirez at half-time proved positive as the hosts took the game to the champions-in-waiting. Joachim Louw had a master-stroke in Andre Schurle as the substitute scored twice. He came after Neuer had to pull off stunning acrobatic saves from the marauding Samba Boys who looked to save face. It can be said the second half needed Neymar, but with all due credit, the Germans had their foot off the gas pedal for a moment.

There was time for Brazil to save face despite the ‘boo’s from the tearful followers and fans. A long ball from the back by Marcelo found Oscar who raced the entire half with the ball into the penalty box. He took the ball by his left foot to his right past a defender and set himself for a shot. He pulled the trigger, hammered a right-footed shot past a desperately diving Neuer.

Schurle got his goal courtesy of poor marking on the right flank. Lahm received the ball in the box and layed it on for the Chelsea player. His first time shot nestled in the net. Minutes later, the ball came from the midfield on the left. Muller touched it on for the substitute to take two touches and beat Cesar for the last time on the night. Oscar’s insignificant goal should have come, and it did, and it attained the title of ‘the most useless world cup goal’ as given by commentators and pundits.

It ended Brazil 1 Germany 7. Germany await Argentina or The Netherlands who meet 24 hours later.