Germany's victory should be celebrated for the wonder that it was
Reaction to Germany's comprehensive win over the host nation has centred on Brazil's failings, yet shouldn't we be applauding the architects of the most remarkable result in World Cup history? By Matthias Kurth
By Matthias Kurth
Brazil 1, Germany 7. Can we please just take stock here and see this extraordinary sporting result for what it actually was?
If my German name is not enough of a giveaway, I ought to state my allegiance to the country of my birth before I go any further. But I feel compelled to add a different perspective to the overwhelming reaction to last night’s demolition job.
A cursory glance at social media and the UK newspapers’ response in the aftermath would have you believing that Brazil conspired to lose this World Cup semi-final.
The truth is, though, that Germany won it at a canter, playing football which, truthfully, none of us have seen the likes of before. I very much doubt that I’ll ever watch such a shocking, jaw-dropping match again in my life.
This was counter-attacking football played at its ruthless best; Germany obliterated not some plucky qualifier, but the supposed greatest footballing nation on earth.
The world watched and wanted Brazil to win but they were soundly beaten in their back garden, in front of a vociferous home crowd.
It would be a disservice to Joachim Low’s team even to talk about Neymar’s absence or Brazil’s schoolboy defending. Instead, let’s laud Germany’s verve, their calm under pressure, and sheer ability.
This was the Teutonic style redefined. Or perhaps come to fruition: power, pace, directness and efficiency, allied to the modern leveller – possession.
Four years ago, Germany dazzled and entertained but couldn’t overcome the Spanish “tiki-taka” surge. Prior to that, at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, we had seen a youthful national side full of attacking intent; for many, it was the first time they had witnessed German patriotism.
Generations had previously been too ashamed to wave the national flag with pride, lest it be mistaken for nationalism. But millions more will now be waving the flag and wearing the national colours with justifiable pride.
Whatever the result in the final, this match will be remembered and spoken about for generations to come. Perhaps it will even surpass the great Brazil performances of the 1970 World Cup at long last.
I appreciate that this Word Cup has been all about the fanfare of Brazil hosting the tournament in Brazil. But the country that spawned “samba football” has been danced out of town.
There aren’t enough metaphors adequately to encapsulate the enormity of this sporting humiliation, yet the emphasis on Brazilian emotions and the team’s failings is wholly wrong.
It’s not Germany’s fault that everyone expected a close contest only to be left begging for mercy before full-time. I know it’s asking a lot, but how about we applaud the worthy winners here, and the most remarkable result in World Cup history?