Five things that went wrong for Brazil as Germany hand out their worst ever World Cup defeat
If you’ve never seen a match like it, you’re not alone.
Brazil were slaughtered by Germany on Tuesday night. Utterly eviscerated.
The inquest will last for days. Actually, who am I kidding? It’s going to rumble on for years in Brazil. Decades, perhaps.
The errors were almost too numerous to count, the goals blurring into one another in the Belo Horizonte night.
Here are some quick thoughts on what went wrong:
1. Defensive errors
David Luiz has been a monster for Brazil this tournament, but he had a shocking game at the Mineirão. It was he who let Thomas Muller find space for the opening goal, which set the tone for the rest of the first half.
Neither he nor Dante could get anywhere near the Germany forwards, who buzzed around with staggering freedom all night.
Maicon was meant to provide more security on the right but found himself out of position too often for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s liking. In summary, a catalogue of errors.
2. Midfield bypassed
Before the game, Scolari had to choose between two options: pick an attacking player to replace Neymar or flood the midfield. How he must regret choosing the former.
Luiz Fernando and Fernandinho, for all their efforts, were helpless to stop the Germany midfield taking control of the game.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira waltzed their way through time and again, with no resistance at all.
3. Punch-drunk love
Brazil’s success at last summer’s Confederations Cup was built on their ability to build up momentum in the opening stages of games.
They got a taste of their own medicine hear. As the goals flowed thick and fast, Brazil were simply unable to find their bearings in the game. Every time they looked up, the ball was in the net.
4. Fred in the water
Before the game, a joke was doing the rounds in Brazil. “BREAKING: Neymar fit to play Fred’s role against Germany – standing still and doing nothing.”
How prescient that proved: again, the Fluminense striker offered virtually nothing, failing to trouble Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng in the slightest. He has simply not turned up this summer.
5. No x-factor
Let’s be clear: Neymar would not have prevented this defeat. But there was undoubtedly something missing from the hosts’ display this evening.
Even when he doesn’t play well, Neymar occupies the thoughts of opposition defenders, making things easier for his team-mates. Then there’s the star power, which would have given Brazil more belief ahead of kick-off.
The irony of his absence is that his reputation has probably risen in absentia.