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′

Money from Wembley replay will ‘support Rochdale for two or three years’

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Worst-case scenario for Tottenham Hotspur: drawing League One side Rochdale in Sunday’s FA Cup fifth-round clash; best-case scenario for the Dale: drawing the Premier League giants and forcing a replay at Wembley Stadium.

[ MORE: Man Utd draw Brighton in FA Cup QF; Chelsea get Leicester ]

For a club the size of Rochdale — 10,200-seat stadium, and never been above the third tier of English soccer — the financial impact of raking in half of the game’s gate receipts “will support the club for the next two or three years,” according to manager Keith Hill — quotes from the Guardian:

“I don’t know how much it is worth but a lot of money has gone into the new pitch. That was a heavy investment for us. Hopefully the money we make will support the club for the next two or three years. We will cut our cloth accordingly and we won’t be in debt.”

As for Steve Davies’ 93rd-minute equalizer, Hill was adamant that it was nothing short of what they “deserved”:

“It was a feeling of reward, not relief, because the performance deserved at least the opportunity for us to go to Wembley for a replay. I’ve always wanted to do that against a Premier League team and manager. Why not take them on and try to win? It could have been football suicide but I thought we gained their respect and to score the goal we did was tremendous. The players were magnificent.”

Tottenham Hotspur, soccer philanthropists.

Try, try again: Messi seeks 1st goal vs. Chelsea in 9th attempt

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LONDON (AP) As unlikely as it sounds, Lionel Messi is still waiting to score his first goal against Chelsea after drawing a blank in eight previous Champions League matches.

The five-time World Player of the Year is likely to get another chance to break his duck this week and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes the past will count for little when Barcelona visits Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

“I hope we maintain this tradition but we are speaking about a fantastic player,” Conte said ahead of the last-16, first-leg Champions League game. “The most important thing is the present.

“We must have great respect but at the same time we must be excited to play this type of game and take on this type of challenge. It won’t be easy because we know very well this player, we are talking about one of the best in the world.”

The teams have produced some epic games in the past although they have not met in the Champions League since Chelsea pulled off a remarkable backs-to-the-wall semifinal victory over Barcelona on the way to winning the trophy in 2012.

Messi missed a penalty in the second leg at the Nou Camp as the London club overcame the first-half dismissal of captain John Terry, and a 2-0 deficit, to draw the game 2-2 and secure an unforgettable 3-2 aggregate win.

Bayern Munich hosts Besiktas in Tuesday’s other game while the following day sees Manchester United traveling to Sevilla, and Shakhtar Donetsk playing host to Roma.

Two weeks ago, the prospect of a Chelsea win over Barca would have been unthinkable after Conte’s men had slumped to successive defeats by two of the Premier League’s lesser lights.

The London club was still smarting from a 3-0 home loss against Bournemouth when it traveled to Watford and succumbed to an embarrassing 4-1 reverse.

Chelsea has got back on track since then, though, easing past West Bromwich Albion 3-0 in the league last Monday before swatting aside second-tier Hull 4-0 in the FA Cup four days later.

Conte has several selection dilemmas. He must choose between captain Gary Cahill and Antonio Rudiger for a place at the back, and between Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud up front.

Cesc Fabregas will also be desperate to play against his former team but may have to settle for a spot on the bench.

Barca has lost only once in 38 matches this season since falling in the Spanish Super Cup to Real Madrid in August. It has a seven-point lead at the top of La Liga and has reached the final of the Copa del Rey.

Messi is having another stellar campaign, scoring 27 times in all competitions, and he helped set up two goals in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Eibar.

Philippe Coutinho is ineligible for Barca following his move from Liverpool.

Mourinho claiming injury crisis ahead of CL showdown

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The next three weeks will go a long way toward defining Jose Mourinho’s second season at Manchester United, with the Red Devils facing not only fellow top-four aspirers Chelsea and Liverpool, but also contesting their Champions League round-of-16 tie with Sevilla.

[ MORE: VAR provider admits incorrect graphic displayed on TV ]

Thus, it’s not exactly the most convenient time for the words “injury crisis” to rear their ugly heads yet again, but that’s the challenge Mourinho claims he faces ahead of Wednesday’s CL clash.

Paul Pogba missed Saturday’s FA Cup victory with a last-minute illness; Marcus Rashford is dealing with a leg injury and remains questionable, as are Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Marouane Fellaini are all but officially out, according to Mourinho — quotes from ESPN.co.uk:

“I didn’t rest one single player so we had today every player available here. I didn’t rest anyone. I brought two kids that played on Friday 90 minutes [for the under-23s] because I don’t have another player, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problems.”

“Can we recover some of them to Wednesday? I believe so. I think Rashford, Herrera, Valencia — I think they have a chance.

“Paul, I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Marouane, Zlatan — I don’t think they have any chance.”

Mourinho dealt with a similar rash of injuries very late on last season, as his side barreled its way into, and eventually won, the Europa League final, securing a place in the CL this season. With a top-four finish all but out of reach at the time, Mourinho opted to rest his bare-bones group of first-team regulars in Premier League action and prioritize Europe’s “other” competition.

[ MORE: Man Utd draw Brighton in FA Cup QF; Chelsea get Leicester ]

This time around, United sit second in the PL table, just four points clear of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur, and the path to winning the CL will prove far more difficult than taking on the likes of Saint-Etienne, Rostov, Anderlecht, Celta Vigo and Ajax.

Serie A: Napoli, Juve hold serve in 1-point title race

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

[ MORE: Barcelona now 31 games unbeaten | Real Madrid 17 points behind ]

Napoli 1-0 SPAL 2013

The battle for Serie A supremacy isn’t ending anytime soon, as Napoli and Juventus continue to match one another (nine straight wins for each side) in Europe’s only remaining major title race.

On Sunday, they even traded 1-0 victories — Napoli at home to SPAL 2013, with Juve triumphing over Torino in the Turin derby.

Brazilian midfielder Allan bagged the only goal for Napoli after just six minutes, finishing off a mesmerizing, free-flowing move that’s become synonymous with Napoli this season. The video-assisting referee came into play just after the hour mark, when Marek Hamsik headed home to make it 2-0 before the VAR wiped it away for offside.

Napoli’s current nine-game winning streak is the longest in club history.

Torino 0-1 Juventus

Juve’s victory came at something of a cost, though, as star striker Gonzalo Higuain was lost to an ankle injury after just a quarter-hour (the injury occurred after just three minutes), followed by a potentially serious knee injury for Federico Bernardeschi, who replaced Higuain, in second-half stoppage time. Higuain isn’t expected to miss significant time, with the club calling it a twisted ankle.

In between the injuries came Alex Sandro‘s 33rd-minute winner, a tap-in from close range masterfully set up by Bernardeschi. One additional positive for Juve: Sunday also saw Paulo Dybala return after missing five weeks with a hamstring injury. The Argentine star entered as a second-half substitute.

“Paulo played 30 minutes at a good level,” Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri said. “I’m pleased with his and everyone else’s performance. This is a good result against a well-organized Torino side.”

Elsewhere in Serie A

AC Milan 1-0 Sampdoria
Atalanta 1-1 Fiorentina
Bologna 2-1 Sassuolo
Benevento 3-2 Crotone