Germany’s 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the World Cup semi-final was a “hammer-blow” that has damaged the hosts’ image around the world, Argentine great Diego Maradona said.
The astonishing reverse was Brazil’s record World Cup defeat, their first loss at home in 64 competitive matches since 1975, and the first time they had lost by six goals in any match since Uruguay beat them 6-0 in the Copa America in 1920.
“I said Germany were better than Brazil, I didn’t like Brazil from the start, but I didn’t think Germany were going to be so imposing, so devastating, so decisive,” the former World Cup winner said on a chat-show late on Tuesday.
“Brazil just didn’t turn up and I think the worst thing for Brazil is that they gave an extremely poor image. OK, Germany were strong but the Brazil players simply weren’t on the pitch.”
Maradona knows what it is like to be humiliated by Germany: he managed Argentina at the World Cup four years ago where the Germans beat his team 4-0 in the quarter-finals.
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That, he argued on the Venezuelan-based TV network Telesur, was different, because Argentina fought harder and let in three late goals rather than capitulate from the start.
“I’m sorry because Brazil was so proud of its team, they wanted to reach the final, but football gives you these hammer-blows,” Maradona added.
Though respectful in his comments on air, some media reported that privately Maradona was mocking the Brazilians, who are Argentina’s traditional rivals.
Those reports said that just before going on air, the always controversial Maradona had sung an Argentine fans’ song, “Brazil, how does it feel?”, but adapting the word “siente” which means feel in Spanish for “siete” which means seven.
On the programme, he criticised how Brazil’s midfield and defence seemed to melt away at every German attack in the game on Tuesday night at Belo Horizonte’s Mineirao stadium
“Brazil didn’t stop anything in the midfield, anyone could get through. The defenders, Dante and David Luiz, had no coordination,” Maradona said. Dante stood in for suspended captain Thiago Silva while striker Neymar was out inured.
“It was like five-a-side. You give it to me, I give it you, and you shoot,” Maradona added of the ease with which Germany’s strikers stroked the ball around in the buildup to the goals.
Had Germany converted a great chance, just prior to Brazil’s consolation goal, and gone 8-0 up, it would have been a “global catastrophe,” Maradona said.
The team suffered from not being in the South American qualifiers with the experience that would have given, he said.
Brazil qualified for the tournament automatically as hosts.
Echoing the amazement of those at the game, and millions watching around the world, the Argentine said it felt as if he had fallen asleep and dreamt about Brazil’s defeat.
The atmosphere inside the Mineirao stadium was surreal, as hours of euphoric buildup turned to shock and trauma when Germany went 5-0 up in the first half.
Adults and children cried alike, some fans began booing their team and ironically cheering the Germans, and there was venomous treatment for some players especially forward Fred.
The Brazilians looked lost and startled, while the Germans seemed almost embarrassed by what was happening, restraining their celebrations and consoling their rivals afterwards.
Praising Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer as a “monster”, Maradona said the Europeans nevertheless have weaknesses. “This Germany is vulnerable,” said Maradona, whose nation play the Netherlands later on Wednesday in the other semi-final.