Brazilian football needs to recapture its rhythm and style

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Photo: Tearful David Luiz (Reuters)

Like a hot knife through butter, so Die Mannschaft cut through the Selecao in a ruthless first half display of football to make a mockery of the five time world champions in their own home at the Belo Horinzonte stadium on Tuesday, in first the semi-final of the World Cup.

With expectations high despite the absence of the World Cup poster boy and their most creative player Neymar as well as skipper and central defender Thiago Silva, Brazil showed intent from as early as the second minute when left back Marcelo flashed a shot just wide of Manuel Meuer’s goal. That however, was as close as Brazil would get for the first 45 minutes of probably the most one-sided semi-finals in World Cup history.

A pathetic defensive display by the world cup favourites and hosts made life easy for the tournament’s best team so far. Thomas Muller bagged his 5th goal of the tournament in the 11th minute and just 18 minutes later his teammate Sami Khedira made it 5-0 to kill the game off before 30 minutes had elapsed in the match.

The ruthless German machine had left a stadium full of Brazilian fans in tears as they looked on woefully at the pathetic display of their beloved team. Never in their football history had they witnessed something like this, home or abroad. The competition that had started so brightly on June 12th with a 3-1 win over Croatia was being brought to a crashing end with a whipping from Joachim Loew’s men.

Miroslav Klose scored in the 23rd minute to become the World Cup’s all time leading goal scorer with 16 goals, replacing the legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo.

Before the game, all the talk had been about the absence of Neymar and the impact it would have on Brazil scoring but in the end all the debate as about the lack of leadership in defense due to the absence of Silva and the lack of organization in a team full of professionals. Neither stand-in skipper David Luiz nor Silva’s replacement Dante took responsibility for organizing at the back and the Germans were all too happy to exploit the gaps presented when Marcelo and Maicon bombed forward to support their team in attack. The aging legs of Maicon could not keep pace with the likes of Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Muller on the counter attack while Fernandinho and Luiz Gustavo offered no protection for the back four.

But Brazil’s problems extend beyond their pathetic defending. They are a team known for attractive football and goal scoring, yet throughout the tournament there had been only glimpses of the Samba rhythm. In Fred, Hulk and Jo they have three forwards that clearly do not know the path to goal. Between them there has been only one goal in six games, a horrible return at best.

The midfield with Paulinho, Fernandinho and Gustavo is more robotic than it is creative and the things that once defined the most loved football team in the world are no longer present. While qualifying for the next World Cup in Russia four years time, may in all likelihood occur, winning a sixth title far from reality!