World Cup 2014 panel

Off the scale

EPA/Felipe Trueba

Match 61 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the semi-final between Brazil and Germany, was a record-breaker. It was Germany, not Brazil, creating the records after a 7-1 victory at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.

Germany rewrote those records against the host nation, Brazil.

  • It was the first time a team has scored seven goals in a semi-final at the World Cup.

  • Germany inflicted Brazil’s heaviest defeat since 1934, when Yugoslavia won 8-4 in a ‘friendly’ game.

  • The only previous occasion when Brazil was beaten by a margin of six goals was in 1920 (v Uruguay).

  • It was Brazil’s first competitive defeat at home in thirty-eight years.

  • The German striker Miroslav Klose set a new record for goals scored in World Cups. His 23rd minute goal was his 16th World Cup goal.

  • Germany became the third team in World Cup history to score five goals in the first half of a game but it is the first time this has happened to a highly ranked opponent.


The game was refereed by Marco Rodriguez of Mexico. He penalised Brazil for 11 fouls and Germany for 14 fouls. There was one yellow card to the Brazilian player Dante.

Brazil went into this game as the team that had conceded most fouls in the tournament (96), while Germany was one of the least penalised teams (57). Brazil had received the most yellow cards (ten) in the tournament (along with Costa Rica) prior to the game. Germany had received the lowest number of cards (four) of any team that progressed beyond the group stage.


Going into this game, many of the German team had covered much more distance in games than their Brazilian opponents. In the semi-final this trend continued. Eight German players moved over 10 kilometres on the pitch.

One of them, Bastian Schweinsteiger, covered approximately 12.616 kilometers including 40 sprints. This was almost one and a half kilometres more than Luiz Gustavo of Brazil, its leading distance-covering player. He was one of five Brazilian players to cover over ten kilometers.

What a game!

This was one of the most significant games in World Cup history. No leading football nation hosting a World Cup has ever lost in this way.

In addition to a remarkable team and support staff, there is evidence of a significant investment in sport analytics by Germany. One report suggests that the semi-final result is the outcome of two years’ work by a research team at the Deutsche Sporthochschule in Cologne under the leadership of Juergen Buschmann.

The outcome of Germany’s preparation was that the third-ranked Elo ratings team defeated the top-ranked team in its home tournament.

After the game, Joachim Loew, the German coach, noted the importance of humility in success, while Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari accepted the responsibility for the result:

The person who decided the line-up, the tactics was me. It was my choice. We tried to do what we could, we did our best – but we came up against a great German team.

Like most of us, Scolari must still be in a state of shock.

EPA/Andreas Gebert