Germany have reached the World Cup final after annihiliating hosts Brazil 7-1 in their semi-final clash in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.
Shorn of injured playmaker Neymar, who suffered a fractured vertebra in the quarter-final against Colombia, and suspended captain Thiago Silva, Brazil were torn apart by a ruthless Germany at Estadio Mineirao, Goal.com reports.
Miroslav Klose became the leading scorer in World Cup finals history as Joachim Low's side scored four goals in the space of six first-half minutes and led 5-0 after only 29 minutes, then struck twice in the second half to set up a final against either Netherlands or Argentina at the Maracana on Sunday.
Thomas Muller set the ball rolling with his fifth of the tournament and veteran striker Klose netted his 16th World Cup goal, surpassing legendary Brazil striker Ronaldo's tally as the shell-shocked Selecao were totally outclassed.
Brazil had no answer to Germany's passing and movement as Toni Kroos struck twice and Sami Khedira added a fifth before substitute Andre Schurrle scored twice in the second half as the hosts were totally humiliated in the most emphatic semi-final win in World Cup history.
Oscar pulled back a late goal on the break, but it was no consolation on a miserable night for Brazil.
Germany were a class apart and Brazil fans sportingly applauded as they became the first team to score seven goals in a World Cup semi-final and will take some beating as they attempt to win the trophy for the first time since 1990, while the inquest will now start for the home nation.
The hosts started brightly against Colombia in the quarter-finals, but looked nervous early on and Germany took full advantage when Muller put them in front just 11 minutes in courtesy of some dreadful defending.
It was all too straightforward for the Bayern Munich forward, who side-footed home after being left unmarked from an outswinging Kroos corner.
Brazil looked disjointed as they gave the ball away far too easily, while Germany were playing with a swagger and doubled their lead with a landmark Klose goal after 23 minutes.
Muller was involved once again, as he cut in from the right and laid the ball off for Klose after being picked out by an incisive Kroos pass. The veteran striker slotted into the corner with his right foot after Julio Cesar had kept out his initial attempt.
Luiz Felipe Scolari's men were stunned, but far worse was to come as Germany capitalised on more shambolic defending to score another three goals in the space of five minutes.
First, Kroos was on hand to fire home with his left foot from 18 yards after Muller had failed to make contact with a Philipp Lahm pass, then the midfielder struck again almost straight from the kick-off as Brazil fell apart.
The Bayern Munich man robbed Fernandinho as he dithered in possession and laid the ball off for Khedira, who unselfishly cut it back for his fellow midfielder to net.
And the outstanding Khedira got in on the act by adding a fifth with only 29 minutes gone, driving forward and passing to Mesut Ozil and then finishing with his right foot after the Arsenal midfielder cut the ball back to him inside the penalty area.
Scolari replaced Fernandinho and Hulk with Paulinho and Ramires at half-time and both substitutes were in the thick of the action early in the second half as they brought saves out of Manuel Neuer.
But normal service was resumed as Germany showed no mercy and Cesar produced a fine save to tip over Muller's goal-bound striker on the hour mark.
Cesar could do nothing to deny substitute Schurrle a sixth goal 69 minutes in, though, and once again it was all too easy as Lahm fed Khedira, who in turn picked out the Chelsea forward and he made no mistake with a simple finish.
And Schurrle put Germany in seventh heaven with a clinical left-foot finish at the near post 11 minutes from time that prompted Brazil fans to sportingly applaud despite their heartbreak.
Oscar pulled a goal back when he cut inside Jerome Boateng and finished a minute from time, but the damage had long since been done.
COMMENTARY: FULL TIME
SEVEN goals for Germany see them through to the final to face either Netherlands or Argentina. Can the golden Die Mannschaft generation finally fulfill their potential?
The home nation brought to their knees. Who would have thought that they would crumble like this? They now will play in that most unwanted of games - the third place playoff.
90' + 2' The end of the match and the end for Brazil. GERMANY will contest the World Cup final!
90' Goal Oscar
A goal that turns to ashes in Brazilian mouths. Oscar races past his man down the left side of the box and cuts onto his right foot before firing a powerful shot into the back of the net!
90' THERE WE GO! BRAZIL SCORE!
90' OZIL SHOULD MAKE IT EIGHT! The Arsenal man was put clean through down the middle but rather sheepishly sidefoots his finish wide of the target when he had no right to miss.
89' Word is that the referee has opted against awarding any added time here. I can't remember the last time that I've seen that but it's not surprising in the slightest. Bernard badly misses the target with probably the last kick of the game.
87' Neuer is nowhere near troubled by a tame shot from Ramires. The Bayern Munich stopper has been absolutely marvelous all tournament. Robben, Van Persie, Messi - whoever faces him next will have a hell of a task on their hands.
85' Nothing at all happening on the pitch. Brazil did make a big deal about banishing the memory of the Maracanazo before the start of this tournament. Well, they did. In the most soul-crushing way possible. That match in 1950 no longer stands as the blackest day in Brazilian football.
83' This is merciless. The 'Ole's' ring around from the German supporters with a touch of irony as their side maintain possession with impunity. The Brazilian supporters are mostly still too shell-shocked to muster a response, but a few have sarcastically taken up the cheer. Can you blame them? Their team has embarrassed the nation.
81' It's official. Brazil's worst ever defeat. It has never got as bad for them as here tonight in Belo Horizonte. The funny thing is that the Selecao could have had a few goals on the board themselves after a scintillating start to the half. But like so many dreams for Brazil tonight, it faded and died before it even began.
79' Goal Andre Schürrle
79' Quite possibly the goal of the bunch. Schurrle accepts a pass on the left side of the box and strides towards the byeline. With the angle decreasing by the millisecond, he slams a splendid finish into the roof of the net. What a way to make history!
79' IT'S SEVEN FOR DIE MANNSCHAFT!
77' Khedira's race is run for the night after a magnificent game in the centre of the park. Germany look so much better with him in midfield and Lahm at fullback. On comes Julian Draxler for his first action of the finals. He had a disappointing season with Schalke, mostly due to injuries. Let's see if he can make a late impact here.
76' Substitution: Sami Khedira OUT, Julian Draxler IN
75'Brazil lost 6-0 to Uruguay in the 1920 Copa America. That stood for almost a century as their biggest ever defeat. But like Klose on Ronaldo, the landmark has been equaled in 2014 and it may well be surpassed with a quarter of an hour still to play.
73' Neuer is more than equal to a desperate shot from Paulinho. It was never a favourable position as a cross looked to be the only sensible option for the Tottenham man. Moments before that, Willian, who came on for Fred, curled a shot high and wide.
71' Lost in all of that was a yellow card for Dante for a tackle on Muller and the departure of Fred from the field. He's been the sorest sight for many Brazilians in their side's XI and he departs to a chorus of boos. I'll be surprised to see him start under Scolari again. Having said that, I'd also be surprised to see Scolari at the helm of his nation after this.
70' Substitution: Fred Willian
69' Goal: Andre Schürrle
Well that just piles on the agony. Lahm is afforded the freedom of the Mineirao on the right hand side to pick out a low pass to the top of the six yard box. They're lining up for the finish, and Schurrle is the man who gets there just ahead of Muller to slot home!
69' GERMANY DON'T HAVE TO WAIT LONG! IT'S SIX!
68' Yellow Card: Dante
67'JULIO CESAR HAS TO BE ALERT! The Toronto FC keeper takes a leaf out of his opposite number's book. Just like Neuer did countless times against Algeria, Cesar strides to the very edge of his box to slide the ball off the toes of Muller, who is on the prowl for a sixth!
65' One side that's still watching this game with bated breath is Saudi Arabia. The Arab side hold the record for the heaviest World Cup defeat, losing 8-0 in the 2002 edition - to Germany no less. They're perhaps feeling a little short changed that their tormenters-in-chief have decided to take their foot off the gas pedal, which will keep them in the history books.
63' How can this get any better for Germany? A Neuer penalty save? A Mertesacker rabona? It's almost like they've decided not to inflict further cruel and unusual punishment on the absolutely decimated Brazilian ranks. Make no mistake, there's more goals in this if Germany want. I'm not sure I can say the same for Brazil.
61' MULLER NEARLY TASTES A SIXTH! Not to be outdone by the recently departed Klose, the Bayern man nearly makes further inroads on his countryman's World Cup scoring record. He just fails to dribble the ball around Cesar on one quick break before the Toronto FC keeper blocks him from a snap shot on the very next play.
59' Klose is celebrated by the German contingent as he makes way for Schurrle. A record breaking night and indeed tournament for the veteran striker. It could only get better for him if he manages to get his name on the scoresheet in the final. Oh yeah, we're working under the assumption that Germany are getting there.
58' Substitution: Miroslav Klose OUT, Andre Schürrle IN
57' Well this has been an amazing start to the second half for Brazil! I'd be singing their praises more if they weren't 5-0 down and if Germany didn't plunder four goals with a similarly dominant spell. They've come up against a goalkeeper in Neuer who is once again in inspired form.
55' SUPER NEUER! Some quite stupendous goalkeeping! Paulinho makes an ONSIDE run down the left and stings the palm of the German keeper with a powerful shot. That first save wasn't that remarkable, but what caught the eye was his quick rise to stick up an arm and block Paulinho's rebound! That's what you call reflexes!
53' NEUER DOES WELL! Ramires has certainly made an impact off the bench as he links with Oscar quite tantalizingly. The playmaker has time and space to line up a shot in the box, but he can't beat Neuer with the outside of his boot! Great save!
51' BRAZIL FOILED! Finally we see a coordinated attacking sequence from the Selecao as Ramires tosses the ball to Fred at the top of the box, who does well to find the midfielder's run with his return pass. However, Neuer covers his near post and denies the Chelsea man anything!
49' Mertesacker's first action is to narrowly avoid conceding a penalty kick. Fred looked a little too desperate throwing himself to the turf to try to win a spot kick. His case was not helped by Oscar also going down easily. The referee waves both claims away.
47' Let's round up the subs from half time. Fernandinho, who was woeful during the buildup to at least two of Germany's goals, has been replaced by Paulinho. Hulk, probably the best of a putrid Selecao attacking bunch, goes off for Ramires. Germany take no risks with Hummels' fitness and swap him out for Mertesacker.
46' Substitution: Mats Hummels OUT, Per Mertesacker IN
46' Substitution: Hulk OUT, Ramires IN
46' Substitution: Fernandinho OUT, Paulinho IN
46' Here we go again.
Lost in all of this is the injured Neymar. But how could the Barca man even begin to factor into this game? Perhaps more important is the absence of Thiago Silva. David Luiz has had one of the worst games I've seen from any player ever - closely followed by Dante.
Two goals from Kroos and further strikes from Klose and Khedira rammed the knife down Brazil's back. I've never seen a top side disintegrate into nothing like that, out of absolutely nowhere.
Muller opened the scoring after 11 minutes and that perhaps sparked Brazil into a bit of a frenzy to get back on level terms. Then, in a devastating six minute spell, Germany laid the smack down.
45' + 1' Boos rain down from the stands without mercy as a pitiful Brazil side trudge off to the tunnel. Germany stride into the break with their pride visible on every face. We've reached the half-time interval.
45' The loneliest minute of added time to endure for the Selecao as the boos ring out in full force for the first time tonight inside the Mineirao. Hulk makes a spirited run down the flanks but he's swiftly cut out by Lahm. Brazil badly need a reset.
43' One German football stereotype that Die Mannschaft have fully embraced tonight is ruthlessness. They were merciless punishing Portugal in their opening World Cup game but at least Paulo Bento's men could point to Pepe's sending off. We would need Rust Cohle and Lester Freamon to get to the bottom of this catastrophe.
41' Oscar advance but sees a shot blocked. That got the Brazil fans out of their seats for one glorious second. It was the first remotely positive contribution from the men in yellow for almost half an hour. The miniscule sanctuary of the dressing rooms at half time is minutes away.
39' It's like Brazil have forgotten how to play. There's more than a few disconsolate faces in the stands and on the touchline. Brazil's heaviest ever loss was to 6-0 to Uruguay in the 1920's. I'd be surprised if there's still a bookie accepting bets on that scoreline repeating itself. This could get historically farcical by the end.
37' Manual Neuer played a lot of the Algeria match well outside his own area and he may well fancy a run up front here in Belo Horizonte before all is said and done. And why not? He's had nothing to do for a very long while and it's all coming up aces for his side!
35' JUST WIDE! This is staggering! It's all I can do to keep my cool here as we witness history. Germany narrowly see a chance at a sixth go begging. Kroos nearly wraps up a first half hat trick from his zone at the top of the box, but it takes a nick off Luiz and bobbles agonizingly wide!
33' This match is playing out like a training exercise here. Which is never what you expect from a World Cup semi-final. It's been a bloodbath on the field. Absolute carnage. The fear of God is palpable in the Brazil ranks now on every German advance. It's almost not fair.
31' Can Germany let us breathe now? My fingers are worn down to the bone here! Quite possible the most devastating six minute spell we've ever seen at the top level in football. FOUR Germany goals in that period, a 5-0 lead, a place in the final all but sealed and a nation brought to their knees.
29' Goal Sami Khedira
No hiding place for Brazil here as the Germans swarm all over them! Khedira pings the ball sideways to Ozil, who deftly returns the favour to his former Real Madrid teammate. He's left with all the time in the world to slot home simply! This is unbelievable!
28' IT'S FIVE! MIND BLOWING!
26' Goal Toni Kroos
I's amateur hour at the back for Brazil! All too simple for Germany as Khedira is threaded through on the left side of the box, squaring simply for Kroos to tap in his second in two minutes!
26' IT'S FOUR! INCREDIBLE! INSANE! IS IT ALL OVER?
24' Goal Toni Kroos
24' Brazil are falling apart defensively here as they concede yet another cheap goal! A German cross drops kindly to Kroos on the top of the box and with a swing of his boot, he plants it into the bottom corner!
24' IT'S THREE NIL!
23' Goal Miroslav Klose
23' That's 16 and counting for Klose - overtaking Ronaldo as the highest ever World Cup goalscorer! Once again, Germany were quickest to react inside the area. Klose sees a snap shot saved but he's onto the rebound in a flash, prodding it into the back of the net!
23' WORLD CUP HISTORY FOR KLOSE!
21' Klose at the moment looks very isolated inside the area, with Brazil at last getting men back to defend whenever they lose the ball. Muller hasn't gotten involved much since his goal.
19' There are quite a few gaps at the back should Germany care to counter. At the moment it's all Brazil but with the likes of Luiz, Marcelo and Maicon heavily involved in the final third, the Selecao are leaving themselves ripe for the picking. Something to watch if Germany continue to hold the advantage.
17' To Brazil's credit, they are dashing forward at every opportunity. - not that the fans inside the Mineirao would accept any less, mind. Lahm needs to make a superb challenge on Marcelo inside the area to prevent a clear shot or cross. Appeals for a penalty quite rightfully go unanswered.
15' All the onus is on Brazil to get their way back into this game. Germany have lived up to a lot of their old stereotypes in this tournament, winning against Portugal, USA and France without conceding a goal - and coming within seconds of holding a clean sheet against Algeria as well.
13' David Luiz attempts to get his side back on track right away with a towering stride through the middle. The ball gets worked out quickly to Hulk on the left and suddenly, his options in the box look plentiful! However, Germany escape thanks to a poor delivery from the Zenit man into the first defender. Should have been a lot more than it was.
11' Goal Thomas Müller
It had to be Muller, didn't it! Brazil are shambolic defensively from a corner and Germany's top scorer easily pulls away from his man towards the far post. Somehow, he has the space to sidefoot the ball home. Clinical finish as ever, but he should not have had it that easy!
11' GERMANY SCORE! BRAZIL STUNNED!
9' A real back and forth rapport developing between these two teams. Brazil, as ever, are looking to move the ball quickly from the flanks to the centre amongst their front four, but Germany are looking increasingly poised at the back and on the break.
7' Both these sides scored early goals in their quarter final matchups and they both look hungry for something quick here as well. Khedira adopts a good shooting position at the top of the box but sees his attempt blocked by one of his own men, Kroos. Better from Low's team.
5' Neuer has to be alert to intercept ahead of Bernard and Germany then manage to manufacture their first sustained spell of possession, following an eager start from the Selecao. It doesn't last long though, as sloppy play from Kroos allows the opposition a brief foray forward.
3' A sneaky shoulder barge from Schweinsteiger into Gustavo goes unpunished by the referee despite the howls from the Brazil fans. Their side go on the offensive soon after and see the first shot of the game, when Marcelo pulls one off target with a bouncing attempt!
2' It was exactly this day 24 years ago that Germany last won the World Cup. Back then they played as West Germany, and thanks to Andreas Brehme's late penalty, they defeated Argentina 1-0 in the 1990 final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Does history beckon again?
1' And here we go!
Low may well be banking on Dante being a bit rusty with his decision to start Klose. The Bayern man is making his first appearance of the tournament tonight and he'll have to deal with the veteran striker looking to find space all around him in the area - not to mention the prolific Muller drifting in from a wide position. With Silva absent, the thinking may also be that David Luiz will be left more exposed.
For Germany, the most important area of the pitch will be the midfield. Fernandinho was relentless against Colombia in the previous round (and very lucky to avoid a booking, truth be told) and he's been joined again by Gustavo. Schweinsteiger and Khedira will both have their hands full with the Brazilian pair snapping at their heels.
Bernard has not appeared since the group stages and the 5'4" playmaker is still something of an unknown quantity at these finals. He's got all the talent and creativity in the world, but there is still a question mark as to whether he will mesh with the existing XI.
Oscar will also be expected to step his game up. The Chelsea man is near the top of the tournament rankings for tackles but no one will fault him if he lessens his defensive dilligence to stamp his authority over the game in the final third.
The major tactical concern is how exactly Brazil will cope without Neymar who, in case you've been trapped under something for the past few days, will miss the rest of the tournament with a back injury. More of the goalscoring burden will fall on Fred and Hulk, who have both had decidedly mixed World Cups so far.
Miroslav Klose is also handed another chance from the start to break Ronaldo's World Cup scoring record, despite the feeling that he's much better used as an impact sub. He began the previous match against France but barely had a kick. That wasn't enough to convince Low to bench him though, and he will play centrally with Germany's top scorer Thomas Muller drifting to the right.
So in the middle of the park for the Germans is the far more natural pairing of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira, with Low deciding to roll the dice on the Real Madrid man. Just ahead of the pair is Toni Kroos. Mesut Ozil keeps his place somewhat out of position on the left despite increasing criticism of his performances.
Joachim Low has finally opted for common sense and starts Philipp Lahm at right back. The skipper never seemed at his best in midfield, so he returns to his natural position at the expense of Per Mertesacker, with Jerome Boateng moving centrally.
Thiago Silva is another big loss for the Selecao, but he's replaced straight up by Dante, who covers the skipper's suspension in his first action at these finals. Speaking of suspension, that's exactly what Luiz Gustavo has just served, and he returns to slot into the midfield, with Paulinho making way. Maicon also keeps his place on the right side of the defence ahead of Dani Alves.
So, we have the official verdict on Neymar's replacement in Brazil's XI. And after the bookies practically suspended bets on Willian...it's Bernard who is the chosen one. Not the Chelsea man, nor a change in formation from Felipao to include three in the middle. Big call from the boss, only time will tell if it will pan out.
GERMANY (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Lahm, Hummels, Boateng, Howedes; Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Kroos, Ozil, Muller; Klose.
BRAZIL (4-2-3-1): Julio Cesar; Maicon, David Luiz, Dante, Marcelo; Fernandinho, Gustavo; Bernard, Oscar, Hulk; Fred.
COMMENTARY: Goal dot com