Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup: Semifinals

Germany 7 : 1 Brazil
Germany routed Brazil 7-1 today to reach the World Cup final, handing them its worst loss ever and breaking the hearts of millions of Brazilians.

In the time that elapsed between Miroslav Klose scoring Germany’s second of the evening and Sami Khedira their fifth, Joachim Low’s side showcased the poise and skill that made them one of the favourites for the title right from the start of the competition. Yet they were unquestionably aided in their task by a desperate Brazil side that simply collapsed from within.

Brazil played without its injured striker Neymar, who had suffered a fractured vertebra in his lower back last Friday during its quarterfinal clash against Colombia. Brazilian captain Thiago Silva also missed the match against Germany because he received a foolish yellow card during the contest, which was his second before the semifinals.

Germany will play either Argentina or the Netherlands in the championship game at Rio's Maracana Stadium on Sunday.

A number of records tumbled in the Estadio Mineirao yesterday. 39 years had passed since A Seleção's last competitive home defeat, and that too came in Belo Horizonte. Peru were the victors on that occasion, beating the Brazilans 3-1 in the Copa America semi-finals. 76 years separated Brazil's first and previously only World Cup semi-final defeat - a 2-1 loss to Italy in 1938 - from this one.

The match itself provided a wealth of historical moments: it was Brazil’s all-time heaviest defeat (the last time A Seleção lost so heavily was in 1920, when they went down 6-0 to Uruguay), the biggest victory ever recorded in a World Cup semi-final and also the occasion when Germany scored their 2000th international goal.

The Germans have now reached an all-time record eight World Cup Finals. The Europeans are returning to the game's showpiece fixture for the first time since 2002 and will be aiming to win a Trophy they last lifted back in 1990.

Thomas Muller reached a milestone with his 10th career World Cup goal. With five goals and three assists thus far, Muller has a chance in the Final to become the first player to score and/or create nine or more at a World Cup since Diego Maradona (five goals, five assists) in 1986. Furthermore, he is just the third player to score five or more at two separate World Cup editions, following Teofilo Cubillas (1970 and 1978) and Klose (2002 and 2006).

The triumph was crowned by Miroslav Klose scoring his 16th World Cup goal - Germany’s second on the evening - meaning the 36-year-old pulled clear of Brazil’s Ronaldo, who was present in the stadium, as the tournament’s all-time top scorer. The Lazio striker set this benchmark eight years after Ronaldo, with his 15th, took the record from Gerd Muller on German soil. Klose achieved these milestones in his 23rd World Cup appearance, a haul that takes him level with Paolo Maldini on the all-time list and leaves him second only to compatriot Lothar Matthaus.

“It’s an outstanding achievement, I’m delighted for him,” Joachim Low said. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter also offered his congratulations on Twitter: “Hats off to Miroslav Klose!”

Argentina 0 : 0 Netherlands (4-2)
Argentina advanced to the FIFA World Cup final after defeating the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout in Wednesday's semi-final at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.

Neither side scored in 120 minutes of regular and extra time, with the tense, cagey match providing a stark contrast to Tuesday's other semi-final, which saw Germany rout hosts Brazil 7-1.

In the penalty shootout, Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Aguero and Maxi Rodriguez converted their spot-kicks—Rodriguez scoring the clincher off the hands of Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. Meanwhile, Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved against Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder to secure his status as a hero.

The dramatic win sent Argentina into their fifth World Cup final, having won the title in 1978 and 1986. Alejandro Sabella's side will face Germany on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro in what will be a rematch of the 1986 and 1990 finals.

More information:
» Brazil 1:7 Germany FIFA Match Highlights
» Mashable: Brazil Woke Up to the Saddest Front Pages
» Brazil Fires Coach Felipe Scolari

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