Awards 2014: Best Performance (Team)

Germany's Andre Schuerrle celebrates after scoring his side's seventh goal during the WorldCup semifinal match versus Brazil in Belo Horizonte, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.

And the award goes to…Germany

Nobody saw it coming. Nobody. Germany’s 7–1 semifinal win over Brazil wasn’t just the single most amazing result in the history of the World Cup—it was one of the greatest team performances of the modern era. A total dismantling of the pre-tournament favourite and the biggest semifinal win ever. And they did it against Brazil at home—where the national team’s most recent competitive loss was in 1975; where the last time they’d lost by six was nearly 100 years ago. Here’s how it went down.

2nd minute Brazil applies early pressure on Germany, winning a corner kick. Oscar’s delivery into the box is cleared away by Germany’s Jérôme Boateng.

11th minute GOAL! 1–0. Germany breaks on the counter and wins a corner. Completely unmarked, Thomas Muller side-foots it past keeper Julio Cesar. Too easy. A sign of things to come.

17th minute Marcelo gallops into Germany’s penalty area and seems destined to score, but defender Philipp Lahm makes a perfectly timed challenge to poke the ball out for a corner.

23rd minute GOAL! 2–0. Fernandinho duffs an easy clearance, and Brazil pays for it. Muller and Toni Kroos combine to send Miroslav Klose in on goal. He pots his own rebound for his 16th career World Cup goal, surpassing Brazil’s Ronaldo for the all-time record.

24th minute GOAL! 3–0. Germany rips Brazil’s defence apart again. Lahm crosses to the edge of the penalty area and Kroos slams it past Cesar. “A dizzying 25 minutes from Germany leave Brazil nonplussed,” raves BBC play-by-play man Steve Wilson. Yes, quite.

26th minute GOAL! 4–0. “It’s getting embarrassing,” says Wilson as Germany steal the ball directly from the restart, sweep in and Kroos scores again. The cameras show a boy in the stands weeping. It only gets worse.

29th minute GOAL! 5–0. Six minutes, four goals. The Germans run right through Brazil as Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil exchange passes before Khedira slots it home. “Absolute humiliation,” says Wilson.

45th minute At the halftime whistle, the Brazilian players slump off the field under a chorus of boos. “A humiliation like this, it is about four levels below rock bottom,” notes BBC pundit Alan Hansen. Only four?

49th minute Brazil shows faint flickers. Paulinho looks good since being subbed on at the start of the second half; Fred’s penalty claim is turned down.

52nd minute More signs of life. Sustained possession ends with Oscar forcing German keeper Manuel Neuer to save a driving shot from in close.

53rd minute Ramires’s headed pass sends Paulinho in on goal, but Neuer makes a fabulous double save to deny the Brazilian.

60th minute Shortly after diving at Muller’s feet on a break to deny him, Cesar comes up with a fabulous save to tip the German’s shot just over the crossbar.

69th minute GOAL! 6–0. Lahm again picks out André Schurrle, unattended at the edge of the six-yard box. Brazil’s momentum is turned back.

79th minute GOAL! 7–0. Muller’s cross from the left finds Schurrle, who roofs an unstoppable shot from inside the penalty area. The Brazilian fans give the German team a standing ovation.

82nd minute Brazil has given up, but the Germans keep pressing. Every German pass is greeted by chants of “Ole!” by the Brazilian fans.

90th minute GOAL! 7–1. Neuer’s shutout bid fails as Oscar scores following a rare lapse in concentration by the underworked German defence. Neuer is furious.

90th minute The final whistle. “We’ve just witnessed one of the truly astonishing victories in football history . . . Germany’s elation is matched by Brazil’s desolation,” says BBC host Gary Lineker. ​

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