Brazil has hosted one of the most memorable World Cups ever but
the country's dream of winning on home soil was not the only thing
shattered by a ruthless Germany in an extraordinary match in Belo
The South American country's pride took a battering as the carnival
atmosphere that had swept over the samba nation gave way to a state
of shock and disbelief following Brazil's heaviest ever
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari issued a heart-felt apology to a
country that had spent more than $11 billion to host the World Cup
and invested its heart and soul in making the tournament a success.
"My message for the Brazilian people is this. Please excuse us for
this performance," he said.
"I'm sorry that we weren't able to get to the final and we're going
to try to win the third place match. We still have something to play
Germany played superbly but were aided by a woeful Brazilian
defense, which conceded five goals in a devastating 18-minute burst
in the first half.
An unmarked Thomas Mueller got the first from a corner after 11
minutes before Miroslav Klose struck to become the World Cup's
all-time leading scorer with 16 goals.
Toni Kroos grabbed two in three minutes before Sami Khedira added a
fifth in the 29th minute as boos rang out around the Mineirao
stadium and young children in the crowd started to cry.
German substitute Andre Schuerrle struck twice more late in the
second half before Oscar scored a last-minute goal that was of
little consolation to the five-times world champions, who had waited
64 years to try to bury the ghost of their 1950 final home defeat by
"I just wanted to make my people happy," said a sobbing Brazil
defender David Luiz.
"Unfortunately, we couldn't. I'm sorry, I'm sorry to all Brazilians,
I just wanted to see them smile, everyone knows how important it
Germany have the chance to win the World Cup for the fourth time
when they play the winners of Wednesday's semi-final between
Argentina and the Netherlands in Sunday's final in Rio de Janeiro.
Many fans at Copacabana Beach, who had been happily singing and
dancing with excitement before the game, left the planned party
In Germany, the celebrations were in full swing, with hundreds of
thousands of people flocking to the avenue stretching from the
Brandenburg Gate to the golden statue-topped Victory Column in
Organizers extended the fan zone to 1.3 kilometers in anticipation
of the massive crowd who roared with excitement as each goal was
banged into the Brazilian net.
"Five goals in 18 minutes. It’s clear that they were shocked and
didn’t know what to do," Germany coach Joachim Loew said.
“We played well in the first half obviously. But it continues. We
need to be humble. We don’t want to overvalue this."
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Germany's win came exactly 24 years to the day since their last
World Cup triumph in 1990, when they beat Argentina in the final.
They lost to Brazil in the 2002 final and were knocked out in the
semi-finals when they hosted the tournament in 2006.
“We had great
hopes in 2006 too and you can feel the pressure that the hosts have
in a match like this,” Loew said.
“All 200 million people here want you to get to the final. That can
cause your players to tighten up. I feel sorry for him (Scolari). I
think I know how he feels.”
VAN PERSIE ILL
Meanwhile, the Netherlands have concerns over striker Robin van
Persie, who was suffering from stomach problems ahead of their game
against Argentina in Sao Paulo.
Van Persie has been training separately from the squad and Dutch
coach Louis van Gaal said he would not be able to make a decision on
his fitness until the day of the game.
"I don't know," Van Gaal said when asked if his key striker would
play. "Tomorrow I'll have to take all these decisions but I can't do
Off the field, Ray Whelan, chief executive of a hospitality firm
arrested in connection with an investigation into VIP ticket
scalping at the World Cup, was released after spending the night in
Whelan was arrested as a result of Operation Jules Rimet in which 12
people have been arrested following investigations into the illegal
resale of tickets for the tournament.
The investigation has further sullied the reputation of world
soccer's governing body FIFA, which was already facing allegations
of bribery surrounding Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World
Whelan's company, MATCH, said the Englishman was released in Rio de
Janeiro and that he will assist police with further enquiries.
"MATCH have complete faith that the facts will establish that he has
not violated any laws," it said in a statement, adding that Whelan
would continue working at the World Cup.
(Editing by Nigel Hunt and Ed Osmond)
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