With the clock standing at 19:28 local time on Tuesday evening, an unforgettable 2014 FIFA World Cup™ semi-final between Germany and Brazil had long since finished, yet the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte was still a hive of noise.
Thousands of Germany supporters stood behind one of the goals and were chanting so loudly that their words were clearly discernible even in the inner depths of the stadium: “We want to see the team.”
The travelling fans were longing for another glimpse of the heroes who had just written footballing history, having brushed aside the tournament hosts by half-time in such a manner that spectators everywhere were left incredulous.
Germany steamrollered the five-time World Cup winners and were 5-0 up after just 29 minutes. The sense of disbelief among the German following was equalled only by the certainty that the game they were witnessing would be remembered for generations to come.
“It’s an indescribable feeling,” Thomas Muller told FIFA after the final whistle, a broad grin spreading across his face. “We got off to a great start and when you’re 5-0 up at half-time against Brazil in Brazil then you know it’s something special.
“Nobody was expecting that to happen. We hoped we’d get one or two chances because Brazil’s main strength is in attack. We need to let this all sink in now and then shift our focus to the Final. We want to win the trophy and we’re going to give everything to make that happen.”
Muller was again on the scoresheet against A Seleção, and his opener was the third time he has broken the deadlock for Germany at these finals. “Brazil went into a bit of a shock after going 2-0 down,” Muller continued.
“They were under a lot of pressure in their own country and in front of so many fans. It got to the point where I felt sorry for them because they’ve got so many fantastic players who didn’t deserve to lose like that. Things like this only happen in football.”
Indeed, the match itself provided a wealth of historical moments over the course of the 90 minutes: it was Brazil’s all-time heaviest defeat, the biggest victory ever recorded in a World Cup semi-final and also the occasion when Germany scored their 2000th international goal.
Klose sets new record
Germany coach Joachim Low was understandably proud of his charges afterwards, telling FIFA: “We don’t need to single out any individual players. What pleased me was that we played to our strengths, that we were focused at the back, quick on the break and that the team believed they could win this match.
“Brazil were stunned after the first goal but more so after the second one. They lost their cool and their defensive structure a little bit. They wanted to improve the scoreline and fell victim to three or four deadly counter-attacks from us.”
The triumph was crowned by Miroslav Klose scoring his 16th World Cup goal - Germany’s second on the evening - meaning the 36-year-old pulled clear of Brazil’s Ronaldo, who was present in the stadium, as the tournament’s all-time top scorer. “It’s an outstanding achievement, I’m delighted for him,” Low said. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter also offered his congratulations on Twitter: “Hats off to Miroslav Klose!”
The striker himself refused to get carried away with his accomplishment, however, telling FIFA.com that having the record was great but that “as a team we have an even bigger objective. You don’t experience things like today very often and it’s not easy to put in a performance like that in a World Cup semi-final.”
Not over yet
That Klose does not enjoy being in the spotlight was evident when he was the first to return to the pitch to party with the Germany fans, accompanied only by goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke. He took part in a countdown that launched a Mexican wave around the largely empty stadium.
And just as the chants of the German fans had echoed through the arena, the match itself will continue to reverberate throughout world football, regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s Final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, where, according to Klose “we have to win one more game.”