ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Shock and tears in Brazil. In an utter blowout, Germany beat the home team 7-1, that's right 7-1 in the World Cup semifinal. We'll hear some reaction from Sao Paul in a moment. But first, NPR's Tom Goldman is in Rio de Janeiro and joins us. Tom, Germany totally dominated the game. Brazil only scored in the final moments. What happened today?
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Oh, boy, Robert, what didn't happen? I'll tell you what happened - there was a period of time from about the 23rd minute of the first half to the 29th minute of the first half - that's a six minute period - when Germany scored four times and put this one out of reach. At that point it was 5-0 and it was over. A stunning collapse. I mean, we've all heard about the players that Brazil was missing and wondering, wow, would that have an impact. I don't know if 10 Tiago Silvas or Neymars would have helped today, Germany was so awesome.
SIEGEL: What did the players say about it afterwards?
GOLDMAN: Well, there were a lot of tears. Defender David Luiz said I only wanted to make my people happy. He apologized. He said we're so sorry, so sorry to all the Brazilian fans, it's a day of lots of sadness. On the other hand, Thomas Muller opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the World Cup. He was asked, you know, what the heck happened from your guys' perspective, and he said, you know, it's hard to say, we didn't expect this. He said we did play better than we played against Algeria, I believe that was in the round of 16 - talk about an understatement. But he said, you know, it was a little crazy as far as the score and the ease with which they scored. But he said the Germans believed basically in how they did. They know they're capable of this.
SIEGEL: Now, speaking of expectations - the expectations for Brazil were obviously much higher, certainly among Brazilians they were. You mentioned the striker Neymar, who was injured in the last game, and also the defensive specialist Tiago Silva, who couldn't play today because - I guess it was two yellow cards - was that what happened? How much did that hurt this team?
GOLDMAN: That's right. You know, that's a really good question. I think obviously going in, people said, well, Neymar, without his brilliant offensive creativity and the way he holds that offense together and possesses the ball and launches attacks, that they'd really be hurt by him. I think if you look at how it was such a defensive collapse, you have to think that maybe the absence of Tiago Silva may have been more significant. I mean, he's the captain, he is the glue for that defense. And I tell you, Robert, there was one time when Germany kicked the ball across the box and in front of the Brazilian goal and it was completely untouched and it went all the way from one side to the next, and midfielder Toni Kroos kicked it in and it was like he was at practice. So no one touched the ball, the defense was completely disorganized. And so you had to wonder how much of that was due to Tiago Silva being out of the game.
SIEGEL: So Germany moves on to the World Cup final. And the Germans will play either Argentina or the Netherlands. Those two teams play tomorrow in the second semifinal match. How does that shape up Argentina versus the Netherlands?
GOLDMAN: Well, you know, I think, number one, we're not missing, you know, critical players like Brazil was, so you're hoping that going full strength it'll be a good match. And I think it will be. The Dutch have been fantastic - the players on the field and their coach off. Louis van Gaal has been fantastic. He's been making great moves all along, including the last game in the quarterfinals when he pulled his starting goalkeeper at the end of extra time, put in a substitute goalkeeper who was dominant in the shootout. So he's been making the right moves. Argentina showed in its match in the quarterfinals that it is more than Lionel Messi. And so they put in more of a team effort there. So we're hoping for a good match and hopefully someone will come out of that who can get close to this German juggernaut.
SIEGEL: OK. That's NPR's Tom Goldman speaking to us from Rio de Janeiro on the semifinal game between Brazil and Germany. Again, Germany beat Brazil 7-1. Thanks, Tom.
GOLDMAN: My pleasure, Robert.
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