Just like watching Sunderland “defending” at Crystal Palace last season, said Pete Sixsmith, and it may only have been two or three by then.
Like them or not, though, the German humiliation of Brazil was as clinical as it was excruciating to follow.
It was torture for the home fans, of course, but painful enough, too, for anyone with a passing preference for Brazil. I kept thinking of those people who cannot properly enjoy Fawlty Towers. They appreciate John Cleese’s comic genius and the superb writing of Cleese and Connie Booth, then his wife and Polly in the series. They just wince too much at the agonies of Basil to be able to laugh at the gags and slapstick,
The Brazilian’s suicidal defending did contribute to the goal spree. Each goal seemed to have at least an element of incompetence to help the grateful Germans to their five-nil half-time lead, the last four of those coming in six minutes.
Neither Brazil nor Germany had been pleasing on the eye in the run-up to the semis. Watching a German defender, Jerome Boateng, remonstrating with Marcelo for a wretched dive at 0-1 after a wonderful and perfectly fair tackle by Philipp Lahm, was comic genius in itself, given the Germans’ weakness for falling over and embellishing or inventing injury.
Thomas Muller was at it again, even with his team 5-0 up, trying to get an opponent booked with a dramatic fall after a tame knock. How many times did the excellent but constantly whingeing Manuel Neuer find it possible to roll after charging out of his goal and suffering a routine body block, admittedly at speed?
But let us not withhold the praise that is as due to Germany as scathing criticism is of Scolari and his players.
When Brazil finally realised that diving is only one part of the modern game, not the only one, they began to mount a few serious attacks early in the second half, desperate to restore some pride. Sadly, they looked laboured and unsure. When, rarely, great saves were needed, from Paulinho and Oscar, Neuer produced them.
And German, after soaking it up, romped away on the break and scored yet again. And again. Andre Schurrle grabbed both, finishing off an incisive but essentially simple move from the right before blasting an excellent shot past poor Julio Cesar from the left.
I enjoyed Oscar’s consolation. But the whole sorry spectacle was an embarrassment. If only the Germans could appreciate cricket, they’d have declared long before half time.
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