DEUTSCHLAND ALMOST ÜBER ALLES AGAIN
Mickey Blue Eyes
In the Brazil V Germany World Cup semi-final all sensible supporters expected the Germans to win against an unimpressive Brazilian team. This was in spite of the kind of Brit TV samba hype that makes you want to empty your lunch into the nearest sink. The Germans have been good but the Brazilians nothing special; and now the host nation was without its best player, Neymar. A concern of neutrals was how the Brazilians might react to a loss on home turf. After all, riddled with memory fear, they had booted James Rodriguez of Colombia from one end of the pitch to the other in the previous round.
When the teams came out Brazil players had their right hands on the shoulder of the man in front like an unkempt Alabama chain gang, whereas the Germans almost strolled out in the guise of squeaky clean altar boys. The Deutschers sang their national anthem with calm determination; the Brazilians did theirs with eyes bulging, nerves shredded. It looked vaguely ominous for the Latinos.
So Brazil went straight on the attack, got a corner inside the first minute, and had Nueur in urgent action twice in the first five minutes But it was all unconvincing. Germany kept shape as they always do even when the flow of the game is against them.....it has little to do with "efficiency" and everything to do with self-confidence. Unflappable. And bloody superb and brilliant. You have to admire them.
Twenty minutes later Germany led 5-0, including four in six minutes. It stayed that way up to half time. Poor, poor Brazil were simply swept aside, shredded mostly down their left, defence hapless and almost comic, crosses completely uncontested, midfield virtually non-existent, Germany utterly merciless. There was no need for Deutsche ¡ole! football because it would have slowed down the score rate, which, if kept up, at that stage was potentially mind-boggling. Brazil was simply unable to wrest the ball for any appreciable time because every time Germany moved forward another goal loomed. I cannot recall ever seeing such a mismatch at this level. No wonder we love the Beautiful Game, though I suspect Brazil presently feels like a jilted amante.
Half time TV punditry - egg all over absurd sun-scalded faces (why do fair skinned people do this to themselves?) - made no mention of samba or the Copacabana. The Beeb even slipped in an ad for a stupid soap opera. You had to larf.
Well of course the mayhem would not go on......would it? Well, yes it would, actually. Brazil stormed forward. Nueur made four brilliant instinctive saves in quick succession: maybe the hosts would rescue some pride after all. Er, no. Germany got a sixth with twenty minutes left. Then ten minutes later, a seventh, best of the lot, a tremendous shot from an acute angle that went home off the bar. Then in the last minute Ozil was put clean through and.....missed. Then Brazil went down the other end and got a consolation goal. So quite rightly it finished an astonishing 7-1 to the altar boys but could have been 10-1, no exaggeration.
How to explain a game like this? Firstly, full credit to Germany for a magnificent, fluid and classy performance. They were maestros in every aspect of the game and made the hosts look utterly incapable. If, as seems likely, they win the tournament they will probably be regarded as one of the great World Cup teams of all time. Brazil? Maybe this will be cathartic for them. Maybe we will hear less absurd samba hype from European pundit-fools. Maybe Brazil will now rebuild sensibly. Maybe. Do not make book on it.
Meanwhile, I am willing to bet my favourite bars in Berlin are swamped with celebrations up to and including the weekend. Am I jealous?.......You bet your goddamn life I am.