Rating the players from the game that made history


The 2014 FIFA World Cup was supposed to be Brazil’s homecoming party.

For the first time in 64 years, the World Cup was on their soil. They didn’t have the best team and the national side was going through a sticky patch, but they still had star power.

But by the time they reached the semi-finals, they had lost their two best players by a million miles. Poster boy Neymar picked up a back injury in their quarter-final triumph against Colombia, while captain Thiago Silva was suspended.

Awaiting Brazil in Belo Horizonte were Germany, who had limped and stumbled through the tournament to that point. No one could have predicted what was about to happen.

Germany ran out 7-1 winners. With only half an hour on the clock, they had already scored five. Goals from Thomas Muller, Sami Khedira, record-breaker Miroslav Klose and a brace from Toni Kroos. Shock and awe at the Estadio Mineirao.

Andre Schurrle came off the bench to add Germany’s final two goals, while Oscar scored the most pitiful of consolations.

Here are retrospective player ratings, takeaways and conclusions from July 8, 2014.

Marcelo, David Luiz, Marco RodriguezMarcelo, David Luiz, Marco Rodriguez

Asking for the full-time whistle, presumably / Buda Mendes/GettyImages

GK: Julio Cesar – 3/10 – Hard to put too much blame on Cesar for any of the goals conceded. Though there were seven of them. That is quite a lot.

RB: Maicon – 2/10 – Four years on from his mauling at the feet of Gareth Bale that essentially ended his spell as one of the world’s best right-backs, Maicon looked a shell of his former self. No quickness, no acceleration and a fright from Ozil that forced him to play inside and distort any semblance of defensive cohesion.

CB: David Luiz – -1/10 – What the hell was this all about, eh? There were times when Germany were about to score and Luiz wasn’t even in view of the camera. He showed no desire to defend, no aggression with any of his off-ball actions. Luiz looked gifted when Brazil were in possession, but he was their starting centre-back with no intention of defending.

CB: Dante – 1/10 – Unlike Luiz, Dante at least showed the presence of mind to try and defend. He just so happened to not be very good at it. Must have been painful heading back to Bayern Munich facing so many of his opponents from this wincing evening.

LB: Marcelo – -1/10 – Fair enough, giving so much space to Muller, whose trademark ‘raumdeuter’ position translates to ‘space interpreter’, was a choice. Germany quickly identified that Marcelo was trying to play as a winger and started to hit his side with plenty of direct balls. Staggeringly, he played the whole game and all the while continued to shirk his defensive responsibilities.

CM: Luiz Gustavo – 1/10 – Someone once said, if you watch Sergio Busquets then you would see the whole game. If you watched Gustavo here, you would see the whole game being played around him.

CM: Fernandinho – -1/10 – When all is said and done, Fernandinho will be able to fall back on a legacy as one of the greatest Premier League defensive midfielders ever. That same player was not the one who took to the pitch on this night of infamy. Consistently out of position and a liability on the ball.

RW: Bernard – 0/10 – Could never get his touch to stick regardless of which flank he was on. Despite only being 21 at the time, this was Bernard’s final game for Brazil. Ironically, he was born in Belo Horizonte.

AM: Oscar – 6/10 – The only Brazil player who could say they had some dignity after this match, and not just because he scored their late goal. Tried his best to knit their attacks together, but those around him kept on failing. Worked ever so hard and was a key component behind their high-energy start.

LW: Hulk – 0/10 – For some reason played a lot of the game on the left, aimlessly crossing and not utilising any of his key strengths. Only switched back to the right when it was too late. Far from incredible.

CF: Fred – 0/10 – The loudest boos of the night came when he was withdrawn. Didn’t add anything to the game and you’d be forgiven for forgetting he was on the pitch. Brazil desperately lacked a real number nine.

SUB: Paulinho (46′ for Fernandinho) – 5/10 – Not as much of a negative as Fernandinho, but that was a pretty low bar to clear. Actually tried to attack.

SUB: Ramires (46′ for Hulk) – 5/10 – Immediately brought impetus and energy back to a lifeless Brazil, who had retreated back into their shells by the time of his introduction.

SUB: Willian (70′ for Fred) – 5/10 – Was at least more mobile than Fred, but that was the extent of his usage.

Subs not used: Jefferson (GK), Victor (GK), Dani Alves, Maxwell, Henrique, Hernanes, Jo

Luis Felipe Scolari – -1/10 – Brazil’s game-plan relied on emotion, and the cutting-edge German machine buzzed right through them like a saw.

Miroslav Klose, Toni KroosMiroslav Klose, Toni Kroos

The men of the moment / Jamie McDonald/GettyImages

GK: Manuel Neuer – 8/10 – Brazil began the second half brightly with several shots, most of which Neuer did really well to save. Understandably looked aggrieved late on when he lost his clean sheet cheaply.

RB: Philipp Lahm – 8/10 – Locked up both Bernard and Hulk, despite the noticeable size difference when defending against the latter.

CB: Jerome Boateng – 5/10 – Brazil got the most joy when they were running at Boateng, who seemed rattled after an early altercation with Hulk.

CB: Mats Hummels – 8/10 – Imagine if Luiz was as good at defending as he was at progressing the ball. Well, that’s Hummels. A rock at the back who began attacks in his one half of football.

LB: Benedikt Howedes – 8/10 – Like Lahm was invincible in his own defensive third. Didn’t provide a lot of width but didn’t need to.

CM: Sami Khedira – 9/10 – The sort of all-action performance that typified this part of Khedira’s esteemed career at the top level. Pushed up high to press Brazil and easily walked all over them in the midfield battle.

CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger – 7/10 – The calmer and more conservative member of Germany’s midfield. Looked leggy late on though, which in part led to Oscar’s consolation.

RW: Thomas Muller – 10/10 – Whether he was stretching play in his younger heyday or marauding across the frontline, Brazil failed to pin down Muller and paid the price for it. Among other accomplishments took Marcelo’s soul.

AM: Toni Kroos – 10/10 – Two goals and an assist while playing higher up as a number ten when Germany were running riot. Not a bad return for someone whose career was defined by dictating the tempo deeper. Was able to show off his exceptional ball-striking in a memorable way.

LW: Mesut Ozil – 8/10 – Not a traditional winger by any stretch, but this helped Germany in various other ways. This forced Maicon to play a bit more centrally out of fear, which ultimately messed with Brazil’s defensive cohesion.

CF: Miroslav Klose – 8/10 – Ironically surpassed Ronaldo’s record for most World Cup goals in this game. A legend of international football contributing to a legendary game.

SUB: Per Mertesacker (46′ for Hummels) – 6/10 – Hardly a vintage Mertesacker display, but he probably had never been substituted on with his team 5-0 up before.

SUB: Andre Schurrle (58′ for Klose) – 9/10 – Came off the bench to score twice, including one absolute corker. Could hardly have done more.

SUB: Julian Draxler (76′ for Khedira) – 6/10 – Missed a glorious chance to add an eighth right before Brazil scored their only goal.

Subs not used: Ron-Robert Zieler (GK), Roman Weidenfeller (GK), Kevin Grosskreutz, Matthias Ginter, Erik Durm, Christoph Kramer, Mario Gotze, Lukas Podolski

Joachim Low – 10/10 – Germany didn’t get sucked into the emotion of the night and instead used that to their advantage. Credit goes to the coach.

David Luiz, Julio Cesar, Marcelo, Thomas MuellerDavid Luiz, Julio Cesar, Marcelo, Thomas Mueller

Brazil collapsed as their plan split into a million pieces / Jamie McDonald/GettyImages

What got consigned to history because of the outcome is that Brazil were much better than Germany in the opening ten minutes of the game. Even after they went a goal down, they looked fairly resilient.

There was a zip about their play and an energy they fed off. This did, however, prove to be their downfall.

If anything, Brazil were a little too hyped up. The particular culprits were Marcelo and David Luiz, who were convinced they were forwards and joined in attacks high up the pitch.

From there, Germany were able to exploit that space and begin playing a more direct game. Marcelo conceded the corner which led to the first goal, and Luiz lost the run of Muller who converted.

The Selecao had gone against their own tournament philosophy. When Silva was there, they kept it tight and were never at risk of a game getting away from them. This was a totally different story.

Germany’s second came from a missed interception from Fernandinho, while Luiz was walking throughout the entirety of the move that led to Klose’s record-breaking goal. The third was similar – no alertness, no reaction, and Kroos scored freely at the end of a low cross through the box.

Goal four came back to Fernandinho, who was robbed of possession by Kroos. At this point, there were many, many fans crying in the stands.

The fifth shouldn’t have been allowed due to an offside against Mesut Ozil, but was typical Brazil anyway. Luiz’s aimless long ball forward came right back with Mats Hummels skipping away from all three midfielders. He dragged Luiz out and played in Khedira, who converted after a one-two with Ozil. Dante and Maicon were a little powerless in the absence of Luiz, but they were just too slow rather than flat-out rubbish.

After half-time, Brazil again found their intensity, but it was too little too late. Their defensive frailties remained too, with Luiz simply standing still throughout the whole move which led to Schurrle’s first goal, though you can’t deny his second was simply a fantastic strike.

Brazil played the occasion rather than the game, and Germany the opposite. That, in large part, is why the night panned out this way.

Philipp LahmPhilipp Lahm

Germany were crowned world champions later that week / Matthias Hangst/GettyImages

Germany, of course, went on to win the final against Lionel Messi’s Argentina after extra-time, with Mario Gotze – an unused substitute in this semi-final – grabbing the only goal at the Maracana.

After Brazil received another thrashing in the third-place playoff to the Netherlands, Luiz Felipe Scolari resigned. The Selecao went crashing out at the quarter-final stage of the following two World Cups, even with Neymar available for them again.

There was some redemption for Brazil when they beat Germany in the men’s Olympic final in 2016, but the rest of the world didn’t really care too much about that.



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