Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has described his side's humiliating capitulation to Germany in the World Cup as "the worst day" of his life.
Brazil were not so much knocked out of the tournament, but forcibly ejected in the most emphatic and ignominious fashion last night as they lost 7-1 to a rampaging Germany side, who march into Sunday's final in ebullient mood.
Describing the result as "catastrophic", Scolari took full responsibility for the thrashing. "I will be remembered as the coach to lose 7-1 but I knew that risk when I took the job," said the manager, who guided Brazil to the 2002 World Cup trophy. "The person who decided the line-up, the tactics, was me. It was my choice."
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The Germans tore into Scolari's line-up from the start, Thomas Muller opened the scoring after 11 minutes and not even the absence of defensive rock Thiago Silva and talisman Neymar can explain how Brazil then conceded four more goals in seven mad minutes to go 5-0 down in less than half an hour.
The carnage began when Miroslav Klose netted Germany's second after 23 minutes, a minute later Toni Kroos made it three and he added another after 26 minute. And fans in Belo Horizonte and around the world could barely believe what they were witnessing when Sami Khedira made it five after 29 minutes.
Klose's strike made him the all-time record World Cup goal-scorer with 16 goals in 23 games, taking Ronaldo's crown. Yet this landmark could only be dwelt upon briefly as the goals were banged in at a relentless rate: there were 179 seconds between Germany's second and fourth strikes.
Fans at the Estadio Mineirao were stupefied as Joachim Low's men continued to rip through Brazil's beleaguered defence in the second half, becoming the first team in World Cup history to score seven times in a semi-final thanks to a second-half brace from Schurrle. When the seventh flew in after 79 minutes keeper Julio Cesar was left lying on the turf looking more like a hung-over Sunday league goalkeeper than a man with designs on the World Cup.
By the end a tearful and angry Brazilian crowd had begun to applaud and cheer the Germans, adding insult to injury for the crestfallen Selecao as they stumbled to their worst defeat ever.
Before kick-off the focus had been on the absence of the injured Neymar but the most significant loss had proven to be that of suspended captain Thiago Silva. In his absence the Brazilian back four, supposedly marshalled by stand-in skipper David Luiz, simply fell apart.
Speaking after the tie, Luiz drew the thunderingly obvious conclusion: “They were better than us." He added: "It's a very sad day but it's also a day from which to learn. Apologies to all the Brazilian people. I just wanted to see my people smile."
Perhaps the most telling moment of the tie came when Oscar netted a late consolation goal for the hosts. The Germans appeared furious with themselves for conceding the inconsequential goal, crystalising their terrifying focus on the night. Who would fancy their chances against them on Sunday?
This evening, Argentina face Netherlands in the second semi-final. The mythic mantra that European sides cannot possibly succeed in South American tournaments lies in tatters. Can Louis van Gaal's men make it an all-European final?
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