At the Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, Brazil went out with all kinds of motivation and attempted to get to the World Cup Final in their own country. The problem for the Brazilians was that there was a big German freight train in the way. The Germans walked all over Brazil cruising to an absolutely sensational 7-1 win over the host nation. The scoreline was a shock not only to Brazil but to the entire football world.
Many will remember this game for Brazil’s ineptitude, but take no credit away from the Germans who were superb. There were many outstanding performers in the German team, but one that stood out from the bunch was Sami Khedira. The Real Madrid stalwart dominated the midfield and was a catalyst for Germany’s unprecedented massacre of the Brazilians. The 27 year old bullied his way through the midfield just like the Germans bullied Brazil the entire game.
Khedira managed to grab himself a goal and an assist while dismantling the Brazilians, but the Real Madrid man did so much more than just that. The German completed 87% of his passes, took 55 touches, and made two key passes. Khedira’s powerful running in the midfield was vital to Germany’s success and he had two successful dribbles in the match.
After playing the first four games of the tournament in a new 4-3-3 system, Joachim Löw switched back to his tried and trusted 4-2-3-1. This meant that instead of being in a midfield three alongside Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm, Khedira was in a midfield two paired with Bastian Schweinstager. Communication between the midfield two is key for Germany in this system. Both of these two midfielders like to make bursts forward and supplement the attack. The communication between the two of when each one stays and goes is vital in assuring that the German defense does not get exposed without midfield cover. Based on the heat maps of the two players (below) they had made the decision either pre game or during the game that Khedira would be the more attacking of the two and Schweinstager would be sitting in front of the back four in a more defensive role.
Throughout the game the former Stuttgart man was successful in carrying the ball through the midfield into dangerous positions. Khedira’s ability to dribble into the final third was instrumental in what will be a famous six minutes in World Cup history where the Germans ripped the heart out of the Brazilian team and Brazilian nation. The Stuttgart born midfielder set the tone for the entire match prior to those six minutes in the first 20 minutes of the match where he was able to exploit the weak Brazilian midfield time and time again. This set the tone saying the Germans could cut through the Brazilians whenever they wanted and the rest of the match proved that.
This game is one of the most shocking results in the history of the World Cup. Brazil were dismantled by the Germans, but many will remember this as a Brazilian collapse. While Brazil did collapse and were utterly abysmal, Germany deserve all the credit in the world because they were fantastic putting in nearly a flawless performance. Many Germans put in fantastic performances, but Sami Khedira was a class above on the night.