Germany crush Brazil to advance to World Cup final
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, July 8 (Xinhua/Sun) -- Rampant Germany advanced to the World Cup final by crushing Brazil 7-1 in their semifinal here on Tuesday.
Joachim Low's team stunned the hosts with five goals in the first half-hour to effectively end the match before halftime at the Mineirao stadium.
Toni Kroos struck twice while Thomas Muller, Miroslav Klose and Sami Khedira were also on target before substitute Andrew Schurrle added two more goals after halftime. Chelsea midfielder Oscar netted Brazil's only goal in second-half injury time.
Klose's strike made him the Word Cup's highest scorer with 16 goals, surpassing the mark previously held by Brazil legend Ronaldo.
Germany will now meet the winner of the other semifinal between Argentina and the Netherlands in the final on Sunday.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari insisted before the match that his side had the means to cope without Neymar, who suffered a fractured vertebra in the team's 2-1 quarterfinal defeat of Colombia.
But there was no denying Brazil missed their talisman. Neymar was the Selecao's leading goalscorer with four goals for the tournament and without him they were unable to find a way past Germany's stoic defence.
Arguably even more telling was the absence of the Selecao captain Thiago Silva due to suspension.
Brazil's backline looked rudderless without their Paris Saint-Germain centre-half and defensive errors were to blame for two of Germany's first three goals.
Low named an unchanged lineup from the team that defeated France 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
That meant captain Philipp Lahm maintained his place at right back, having been used in midfield earlier in the World Cup, while Klose made his second start for the tournament in attack.
There were also no surprises in Brazil's formation. Bayern Munich defender Dante replaced Silva while Bernard came in for Neymar.
Muller opened the scoring when, unmarked at the far post, he side-footed from a corner past goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
The goal left the home crowd in silence but it was only a taste of what was to come.
Klose's moment came when he fired into an open net after Cesar had blocked his first attempt.
Germany made it 3-0 a minute later and it was the Selecao's poor defending at fault.
Mesut Ozil played the ball to Lahm, whose deft cross found Kroos at the edge of the penalty area. The Bayern Munich midfielder needed only one touch to rifle the ball into the top corner.
Kroos doubled his personal tally two minutes later after a Khedira counter attack and pass allowed him a simple tap-in.
Khedira then scored a goal of his own after Ozil combined well with Klose to again unravel Brazil's defence.
Selecao coach Luiz Felipe Scolari replaced Ramires for Hulk and Paulinho for Fernandinho at halftime in a desperate, if belated, bid to spark his team.
The hosts did at least take the initiative after the restart.
Manuel Neuer saved from Oscar and Paulinho as Brazil began to move forward in numbers.
But their momentum was only fleeting.
Low brought on Schurrle for Klose just before the hour and the Lazio striker was afforded a warm ovation from the crowd.
Just like his late entry against France on Friday, the Chelsea winger's impact was immediate.
After Muller was denied his second by Julio Cesar's finger-tip save, Schurrle slotted in his team's sixth goal following Ozil's cross.
The 23-year-old added another from an acute angle when his drilled shot rebounded in off the bar.
Ozil had the chance to make it 8-0 but sprayed his shot wide after a Germany counter-attack
Brazil finally found the back of the net when Oscar ran onto David Luiz's pass and fired past Neuer.
But it was little more than an addendum to a performance that will make Germany firm favorites to win their fourth World Cup next Sunday.