Another typical day in Brasil 2014. Exactly as everyone predicted, the Germans went and completely dismantled the home team in front of all their screaming (then stunned, then crying, then eventually angry) fans, leaving no room for doubt in a 7-1 drubbing. I mean, without captain Thiago Silva back there marshalling the “defense” (the quotation marks seem necessary when discussing a group that includes Luiz, Maicon and Marcelo…all at the same time) one had to assume the methodical German attack would be good for at least 4 or 5, although 7 was maybe a tad overdoing it. They probably could have used a little of Silva’s leadership out there as well, say, somewhere between goal number 2 and goal number 5, just 6 minutes apart. Probably the only surprising thing about this game was the fact that even without Neymar, Brazil actually managed to put a goal past the best keeper in the world (watching him play the ball I am tempted to think he may have been an upgrade in the Brazilian back line, as well). All in all, exactly the way everyone thought it would turn out.
Clearly this was the Germany team we have been waiting to see. They showed us glimpses in the first game of the tournament during their 4-0 drubbing of Portugal but there were a couple asterisks in that one since they played most of the game against 10 men and, more importantly, they were playing against Portugal.
Now, the big questions. How does Brazil recover from this to win the consolation game and take some miniscule silver lining away from the tournament that otherwise will be remembered for a (soon-to-be) fired coach, riots in the streets and eventual national bankruptcy? And will their entire starting 11 survive the next two days in one piece to be able to play in that game?
And Germany, can they get past the euphoria and hype and refocus themselves for the finals when everyone is suddenly going to be expecting the same kind of domination despite the fact they’ll be facing a very difficult, and you can bet extremely conservative, opponent in either Argentina or Netherlands?
As the spectre of our draft champion begins to loom larger my preliminary calculations show probably 6 or 7 left in the running for the big prize, depending on the outcome of the final three matches (6 points for the other semi and the consolation game, 7 for the WC final) and the final goal and assist tally. But probably 15 teams still have a shot to make it into the money so don’t look away just yet.