Germany 7 – Brazil 1
- Jürgen Klinsmann/ Joachim Löw Era: When Klinsmann took over during 2004, Germany failed to produce a victory and proceed out of the group stages of the Euros a month early. In the 2002 World Cup, Germany produced three straight 1-0 wins to reach the finals where they were shut out by the Brazilians. The fundamentals of German football the ten years prior was strong aggressive defending with reliance on a few talented attackers for goal. Klinsmann wanted to change the style and trajectory. He brought an international influence to Germany by hiring a staff with coaching and executive experience from outside of Germany. Inspired by the physical and psychological elements of sports in the United States, the club youth set up in England, and the attacking ability of the world’s top team, Klinsmann sought to implement his vision in a centralize-structural driven Germany. This team is a product of ten years and three World Cup cycles under this new vision. Since the era began, the new attack driven Germany has been no worse than the semi-finals in every major tournament.
- The San Antonio Analogy: The site is called Soccer Yank so we have license to view the world’s game through a United States crafted lens. Every other team in the semi-finals is carried by collection of spectacular individuals (Lionel Messi, Arjen Robben, and Neymar). Brazil suffered a monumental collapses after the loss of Neymar and Thiago Silva, and failed to play as an organized squad. Brazil resembled a pick up team at a local park, while Germany was a well-oiled machine. Germany is unselfish, clinical and have a next-level understanding as to what their system demands for success. Thomas Müller may win the Golden Boot, but no one will confuse him for a Ballon d’Or winner. Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm are the most valuable outfield players, yet not irreplaceable. Only Manuel Neuer is without peers, however, that is true of most teams’ goalkeeper situation. The principles of spacing and ball movement with the squad’s depth make no individual greater than the team.
- Chelsea: For selling high…
- Paris Saint-Germain: David Luiz had an exceptional World Cup before this game. Playing better for country than last season with his club where he was the second choice behind Gary Cahill and 33-year-old John Terry. This game does not instantly make his World Cup rubbish. It does, however, damage his brand, market value and the perception of him as a £50 million player. José Mourinho defended Luiz saying it was not solely his fault. Of course, a team of that caliber does not lose a game by 6 goals due to one individual’s performance. Nevertheless, do you think Laurent Blanc of PSG is eager to stand next to the £50 million centerback a week after Luiz captained Brazil to the worse loss in their history?
- Luiz Felipe Scolari: He realized the essential mental fragility of the team weeks ago. He held the flawed squad together and played with the cynicism. In the two previous knockout round matches, Brazil had the most fouls in a single game of the tournament: against Colombia (31) and tied for second most fouls (28) against Chile. Results masked the absence of the Brazilian essence. The ghosts of 1950 and 1982 put pragmatism above poetry. For ten years Germany under Klinsmann and Löw aspired for progressive football, Brazil became regressive with their best players of this generation playing on the backline and holding roles. The monumental loss will force an autopsy which a competitive 3-1 defeat might not. This is the legacy of Scolari beginning from 2002 to today.
- Major League Soccer: An entire marketing campaign is thrown out the window. Júlio César was the most sympathetic player on the field. Helpless for 90 minutes, he somehow found the pride to play the second half, despite the rest of the team giving in after the second goal.
Man of the Match: Toni Kroos
Argentina 0 (4) – Netherlands 0 (2)
- Taylor Twellman: The voice he lends to the topic of concussions in football is so important to current and future players. For the second time this World Cup a player with signs of head trauma returned to the field without a proper evaluation. It is clear to many that FIFA has little interest in the topic, but the ability to provide a voice on a major outlet pushing for the better treatment of players is vital. If the United States is to take a leadership role in some aspect of the world game, this should be it. See also www.thinktaylor.org .
- Argentina Defense: The Netherlands didn’t put a shot on goal until the 98 minute mark. Somehow the slowest man on the field Martín Demichelis and his Manchester City back line partner Pablo Zabaleta limited Arjen Robben to 2 shots, the lone shot on goal and most importantly, only were only called for a foul once. Credit needs to go to Javier Mascherano and Lucas Biglia for not allowing Wesley Sneijder space and time to change.
- Ron Vlaar: This is why I loveOpta:
- 91.5% Passes Completed
- 11 out of 11 Clearances
- 9 for 9 on Headed Clearances
- 6 Interceptions
- 4 out of 5 Tackles
- 3 for 4 on Aerial Duels
- 1 Block
- 0 Errors that Led to Shot
- 0 Passes Received in the Box by Messi
- 1 Missed PK…urgg
- Memphis Depay: Ineffective as a starter in the previous game, Memphis did not see the field in the semi-finals. During the group stage the 20-year old forward was threatening for the Best Young Player Award, now he’s a bit of an afterthought.
- Robin Van Persie: Similar to Memphis he’s on the losers’ list for the entirety of the knockout stage. An ounce of forgiveness is allowed for this match’s performance as he started despite a stomach virus. Nonetheless, Van Persie was held scoreless in the last three games and without an assist. Additionally, in this stage he only produced 4 shots on target and 1 scoring chance in open play, all in the Costa Rica match.
- Louis Van Gaal’s Bag of Tricks: Did the Netherlands reach the semifinals on their talent, discipline and hard work, or the brilliant maneuvers of their manager? Van Gaal didn’t have the water break adjustment or the 120 minutes goalkeeper sub to be the difference in an evenly played match. At least that’s something Van Gaal did not discuss during the post-game press conference.
Man of the Match: Ron Vlaar
This Round’s Throw-In:
The Knock Rounds Best XI in the Best Formation 4-4-2:
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer
Defense: Philipp Lahm, Mat Hummels, Ron Vlaar, Thiago Silva
Midfield: Javier Mascherano, Toni Kroos, James Rodríguez, Dirk Kuyt
Forward: Thomas Müller, Andre Schürrle,