The hosts, the pre-tournament favourites, the nation who invented football.
Well if that is the case, Germany are the ones who are redefining it after their utter demolition of the home side in the first semi-final of the 2014 World Cup.
You could forgive the two sides playing tonight, Holland and Argentina, if they had reservations about playing this German side.
They have no Neymar, no RVP, no Messi – but they do not need one. What they do have is a collective who work for each other, are entirely unselfish and who are clinical, efficient and winners.
It sounds astounding to say, but they may not get the credit they deserve after what will be viewed by many as the complete capitulation of Brazil. That would be a travesty. Joachim Low’s men are the very best side in the competition and have gotten better as it has progressed.
Thomas Muller is now in line for his second Golden Boot award in a row – and has managed 10 goals and five assists in 12 World Cup games. A record even Pele would be proud of. Miroslav Klose meanwhile has surpassed the real Ronaldo and now is the out and out all-time top goal scorer in the World Cup. That number could well be increased with the star having a role to play in the final too.
Manuel Neuer meanwhile is not only showing what he can do as a sweeper keeper but is also a brick wall at times and can do absolutely everything you would expect a top class keeper to do – and more. On a night where Brazil were so lacking in leadership, Germany had it in spades and it all began with their keeper. Neuer had very little to do in the first half, but was peppered with shots in the second and dealt with each and every one.
Brazil for their part, were utterly dreadful. Chelsea fans will know how bad David Luiz can be at times, but the rest of the world can often be blinded by the defender’s will to work and run forward.
He also showed how well he can score from dead balls in the quarter finals and the Luiz fans were out in force, criticising Jose Mourinho and Chelsea for doubting him. A Jose Mourinho who after the yellow card for Silva, claimed that would be a bigger loss to Brazil than that of Neymar. Well given he has managed Luiz all season, it is no wonder he drew that conclusion.
As for the Luiz fans, one can only imagine they are hiding under a rock at this minute in time, taking a lengthy break from social media and preparing to reassess their opinions on the fundamentals in life. Luiz was shocking – and that is being kind.
He failed to offer any kind of leadership in Thiago Silva’s absence, did not marshal his back four in any way, shape or form and lost possession over and over again.
He also looked like losing his head on occasion and come the full time whistle, broke down in tears, too distraught to even conduct a post-match interview properly. Well David, the only people who should be crying are Paris Saint Germain, who will be wondering just why they paid £50 million for someone that is now worth approximately £5 -and that is pounds, not millions, in case you missed the game.
Marcelo was another major culprit, which given the entire team do not warrant anything over a 3/10, is really saying something. The Real Madrid left back was quick to criticise Jose Mourinho and Chelsea for their ‘parking of the bus’ but it seems that was jealousy speaking given Marcelo could not park a toy bus let alone a Jose sized double decker one taking last night’s display into account.
The loss of Silva was massive, as was the absence of Neymar, and most sides would struggle if you took their two best players out, but to totally and completely capitulate? That is not acceptable no matter how you look at it.
Coach Luis Filipe Scolari is refusing to shoulder the blame after the crushing defeat and yes, some of it obviously rests on his players, but it was he who chose the squad. He who knew that it was a possibility he would lose Silva to suspension at some point. He who chose to take Dante – who may as well have sat next to Silva in the stands for the use he was when deputising. It was Scolari who chose to ignore the form of Atletico Madrid duo Miranda and Filipe Luis – a centre back and a left back – and leave them at home.
Both had outstanding campaigns with Atleti and lifted the La Liga title, having the meanest defence around. Yet this was not good enough for Scolari, who decided that Marcelo and Dante were better options.
He also dropped Dani Alves, who whilst not the best defender in the world, is certainly better than Maicon who let’s face it, should’ve hung up his boots in shame after the Gareth Bale disaster.
Persisting with Fred and Hulk also raised a few eyebrows and no one can deny the fact that they were dire. Some of the crowd would have worked harder, showed more passion and probably threatened a little bit more up top – that is before Jo is even mentioned.
The midfield was bypassed like it was not even there. It offered no resistance to Germany at all, failed to create anything and not one player from the middle of the park emerged with a shred of credit.
The likes of Willian never got a proper chance to impress during the tournament and Oscar was simply dire. The Chelsea number ten looked inconsolable at full time, sobbing his heart out on the shoulder of Silva, and that image alone will concern the Stamford Bridge faithful far more than the form their number ten showed this World Cup.
The mental effect on the players will be hard and long lasting. Some will bounce back and take it on the chin. Others will use it as motivation to guarantee that never happens again. Some will never recover from it and fold under the weight of criticism and expectation.
It will now be up to the domestic managers to pick their players up post World Cup and try and get them in shape for the start of the league season – for some, it will be harder than others. For Jose Mourinho and Laurent Blanc, one suspects it may be hardest of all.
Footyettes. What did you make of the Brazilian capitulation? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.