Germany’s World Cup preparations, which included building a 60-room training base for the tournament, aren’t about to be derailed by any surprises -- even a record-breaking 7-1 win against host Brazil.
The Germans known as “Die Mannschaft,” or the Team, scored five goals in 18 first-half minutes on the way to inflicting Brazil with the biggest semifinal loss in the 84-year-old soccer tournament’s history.
“There was a very excited atmosphere in the dressing room,” Germany defender Jerome Boateng told reporters. “But we can only be happy for a short time.”
Germany advanced to the July 13 final in Rio de Janeiro, where it will play the winner of today’s semifinal between the Netherlands and Argentina.
A three-time champion, Germany is seeking to win its first title since 1990. It lost to Brazil in the 2002 final, and was eliminated by eventual champions Italy and Spain in the 2006 and 2010 semifinals, respectively.
German fans at yesterday’s game in Belo Horizonte said they could hardly believe the goal rush.
“It was surreal,” said Olaf Sommerfeld, a 38-year-old public notary from Straubing, Germany, who paid 5,000 euros ($6,800) for a two-week trip to the World Cup. “It was the strangest 10 minutes I’ve ever seen in football.”
Germany began preparing for the Brazil tournament more than a year in advance. To acclimatize to playing in humid conditions in the opening games, the German soccer federation commissioned architects to build a base in Santa Cruz Cabralia in northeastern Brazil. Most other teams relied on hotels in the cooler south of the country.
With the Brazilians still shut away in their locker room more than an hour after the game ended last night, German players already had finished their post-match interviews and were leaving the stadium.
Per Mertesacker, a halftime substitute for Germany, said there’s no time to relax.
“If each player gives it just 5 percent less -- which can soon happen after this kind of game -- things get difficult,” Mertesacker said.
Even Sommerfeld, who was carrying out a cardboard cut-out World Cup trophy at Belo Horizonte airport at 6 a.m. today on his way to the other semifinal, said he’s not confident about winning the final.
“I hope we play Argentina,” he said. “I’m a bit afraid of the Dutch team.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Duff in Belo Horizonte, Brazil at firstname.lastname@example.org; Tariq Panja in Rio de Janeiro at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at firstname.lastname@example.org Sara Marley