Germany won the cup, and came top in plenty of categories.

Germany hammer hosts Brazil 7-1, yes 7-1, to make record eighth World Cup final

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Hosts Brazil crashed out of the World Cup at the semifinal stage on Tuesday, as they were hammered 7-1 by Germany in what has to be one of the most one-sided matches, and most shocking defeats, in World Cup history.

The defeat was Brazil’s worst in World Cup history and their heaviest defeat in all competitions for 94 years. The home fans stood stunned as Germany blitzed Brazil during a rampant 18-minute spell in the first half where they scored five times.

Germany scored early and often in the first half of the semifinal as Miroslav Klose became the leading World Cup scorer in history, Thomas Muller got his fifth of the tournament and Toni Kroos bagged a brace in two minutes. Then Sami Khedira scored to make it 5-0 within the first 30 minutes.

[ VIDEO: Watch all seven goals for Germany ]

[ VIDEO: Klose breaks WC scoring record ]

Brazilian fans were in the midst of their worst nightmare and they couldn’t wake up from it as substitute Andre Schurrle added another two goals in the second half as Brazil lost a competitive game on home soil for the first-time since 1975. Oscar scored late on to make it 7-1 as Brazil went out of the World Cup in humiliation. Germany tore them apart time and time again with incisive attacks but Brazil’s shocking defending was their downfall. Brazil gave up halfway through as manager Luis Felipe Scorlai looked on in horror.

Twitter reacts |  How Brazil fell apart  |  Scolari takes blame  |  Luiz apologizes

The Selecao had never given up four goals in a single World Cup match, let alone seven. A stunned stadium in Belo Horizonte stood in silence as Joachim Low’s German juggernaut powered past the hosts and set up a World Cup final against Argentina or the Netherlands on Sunday.

It will be Germany’s eight World Cup final, a new FIFA record, in which they will be aiming to win their first title since 1990 and their fourth all-time.

source: AP
German players couldn’t believe their luck as Brazil imploded.

It was a pulsating start in Belo Horizonte but Germany started to put their foot on the ball and cause Brazil’s defense problems. Plenty of problems soon turned into plenty of goals.

The German offense clicked ominously into place in the 11th minute as Muller bagged his fifth goal of the tournament (his tenth all-time at the World Cup) after some sloppy early defending from Brazil’s defense. Muller lost his man, David Luiz, then steadied himself as Toni Kroos’ corner was swung in, before volleying home from six-yards out. The home crowd fell silent. Losing an early goal like this was not in the script.

Brazil tried to get going and Marcelo looked for a penalty kick in the 16th minute but Phillip Lahm timed his tackle perfectly in the box. A small ruckus ensued as both teams were fired up from the get-go.

However more holes continued to open up as Germany battered Brazil early on and Klose then etched his name into the record books. A flowing move saw Kroos play in Muller, who then back-heeled the ball to Klose who scored at the second attempt to become the all-time leading goalscorer in World Cup history with his 16th goal in 23 games. Kroos then bagged two cool finishes, his first was an absolute beauty from the edge of the box, in the space of two minutes, before Sami Khedira scored in the 29th minute to make it 5-0 and Brazil’s World Cup dreams were in tatters.

It was one of the most remarkable first 45 minutes to any World Cup game in history as Brazil imploded without Neymar and Thiago Silva on the pitch.

After the break Germany sat back and invited Brazilian pressure as a fantastic double save from Manuel Neuer stopped Paulinho but Brazil’s attacks were sporadic and the German defense sniffed them out expertly. Schurrle then replaced the record-breaking Klose and the Chelsea forward bagged two superb strikes to make it 7-0.

The rest of the game played out with Brazilian players walking around in a daze as Germany knocked the ball around. Ozil then missed a great chance and Oscar went up the other end and scored to make it 7-1 in the 90th minute.

Germany are heading to the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, while Brazil’s players will want to go in hiding for a very, very long time.

This semifinal was one of the most incredible games in World Cup history.

LINEUPS

Brazil: Julio Cesar, Maicon, David Luiz, Dante, Marcelo; Bernard, Fernandinho (Paulinho, 45′), Luis Gustavo, Oscar, Hulk (Ramires, 45′), Fred (Willian, 69′)

Goal: Oscar 90′

Germany: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Hummels (Mertesacker, 45′), Hoewedes; Khedira (Draxler, 76′), Schweinsteiger, Kross; Ozil, Klose (Schurrle, 58′), Muller

Goals: Muller 11′, Klose 23′, Kroos 24′ & 26′, Khedira 29′, Schurrle 69′ & 79′

Norwich City striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel signs with former club Vitesse Arnham

NORWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17:Ricky van Wolfswinkel of Norwich City celebrates after scoring their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Everton at Carrow Road on August 17, 2013 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
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Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Norwich City’s record transfer at the time of his purchase from Sporting CP in 2013, is moving on after a largely unsuccessful four-year stint with the Canaries.

The 27-year-old has returned to his home country, moving to Vitesse Arnham – the club he went professional with as a 19-year-old. Van Wolfswinkel made his professional debut in April of 2008 with Vitesse, and now returns for an undisclosed fee.

Van Wolfswinkel came to Norwich in 2013 with much fanfare, signing for a reported fee of $11 million – a club record signing at the time.

He proceeded to score just a single goal in 25 appearances during his first season in the Premier League, with Norwich finding itself relegated. He moved to Ligue 1 on loan with Norwich in the Championship, but still managed just five goals in 28 league appearances with St. Etienne. He never made another appearance for the Canaries, instead moving on loan again Real Betis last season, but flopped there too, scoring just once in 16 league appearances.

“I debuted in professional football on behalf of Vitesse and that is something you never forget,” van Wolfswinkel said upon signing. “After several foreign adventures I look forward to returning to the Dutch fields. I hope to find my niche and want to play well and add many goals and assists for Vitesse.”

Report: Arsenal continues to push for Lacazette transfer, readies another bid

LISBON, PORTUGAL - JULY 23:  Lyon's forward Alexandre Lacazette celebrates scoring Lyon«s goal during the Friendly match between Sporting CP and Lyon at Estadio Jose Alvalade on July 23, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)
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According to Friday’s edition of French publication L’Equipe, Arsenal is set to table yet another improved bid for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette should the current one of $44 million be rejected.

The Gunners have spent little this transfer window, with the capture of Granit Xhaka their only incoming purchase thus far, and it has unsettled many supporters. The club has looked to calm those fears, going so far as to claim they are unable to spend big like many others across England, but on the inside they appear ready to spend for the French frontman.

Should Arsenal submit yet another bid for Lacazette, it would be their third. An initial bid for $39 million was rejected earlier this week, the Ligue 1 side announced on Wednesday.

“The reality is that the Arsenal made an offer of £30m,” the club confirmed in a statement, “which Olympique Lyonnais did not respond to for one reason only: OL wishes to keep Alexandre Lacazette because he is irreplaceable and one of the major leaders of Bruno Genesio’s group.”

The Frenchman scored 21 goals last season in Ligue 1 play, including 11 goals in the season’s final 10 games. His total haul was second in the league behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s whopping 38.

It seems that, with this report out in public, Lyon would be silly to accept the new bid, given that Arsenal is likely to have another improved one soon to follow.

Europa League qualifying roundup: West Ham falls in Slovenia

NYON, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 08:  The UEFA Europa League trophy is displayed during the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League Play-off round draw at the UEFA headquarters, The House of European Football on August 8, 2014 in Nyon, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
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In what is often described as more of a distraction than anything for English teams, the Europa League third qualification round is under way, and a Premier League club is in danger of crashing out of the competition prior to the group stage for the third straight season.

West Ham fell 2-1 at NK Domzale, the third-placed finishers in the Slovenian league last season. Mark Noble grabbed an 18th-minute penalty, the only takeaway from an otherwise depressing road result. On the other side, 24-year-old Matic Crnic scored twice to put Domzale through.

Last season, the Hammers also dropped out of the competition in the third qualification round, to Romanian club Astra Giurgiu, although they had wins in the first and second rounds after entering the competition via fair play. In addition, Southampton also crashed out of last year’s Europa League in the playoff round to Danish side FC Mitdjylland. Hull City dropped out of the tournament two seasons ago in the playoff round.

West Ham has the opportunity to turn things around at home in a week as they host Domzale at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday, August 4 in what will be West Ham’s first competitive game in their new home.

Other notable scores from Europa League qualification include:

  • Lille 1-1 Gabala FC
  • Panathinaikos 1-0 AIK
  • Genk 1-0 Cork
  • Pandurii Targu Jiu 0-3 Maccabi Tel Aviv
  • Videoton 0-1 Midtjylland
  • Hertha BSC 1-0 Bronby
  • AZ Alkmaar 1-0 Giannina

Napoli chief calls Gonzalo Higuain a “traitor,” striker hits back

Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain shows the Juventus' jersey as he arrives in the team headquarters in Turin, Italy, Wednesday July 27, 2016. Italian champion Juventus said Tuesday it has signed  Higuain from Serie A rival Napoli for 90 million euros ($99 million). (Alessandro Di Marco/Ansa via Ap)
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Gonzalo Higuain’s summer move to Juventus has not come without bad blood.

When the 28-year-old striker moved from Naples to Turin thanks to Juventus activating his release clause, it left Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis with a sour taste in his mouth. “There are those who say that talk of betrayal is an exaggeration, but I think the opposite,” De Laurentiis told Corierre dello Sport. “Because, in this decision, there is the full sense of betrayal, which also includes ingratitude.”

“We never seriously thought he would leave. Nor that he would have erased in a flash the memories of his three years in Naples.”

That didn’t sit well with Higuain, who fired back that it was de Laurentiis who drove him out of his former club.

“It was my decision to leave, but it was [De Laurentiis] who pushed me into making it,” Higuain told the media at his Juventus unveiling. “I’d like to thank the fans and my teammates, but not De Laurentiis. I no longer had a relationship with him; I couldn’t stand another minute with him.”

Higuain was more celebratory about his time at Stadio San Paulo. “These have been three amazing years,” Higuain said, “and I can only say thanks for all the love I was given, but this was a decision I took for my own reasons. I can understand that they are angry with me and I’ve seen the insults, but it is something I had to do and I’m happy about it.”

Napoli visits Turin in Serie A play on October 30, while Juventus will not travel to Naples for the return fixture until early April of 2017.