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article imageJoachim Low outwits Scolari as Germany batters Brazil

By Tyrrell Meertins     Jul 8, 2014 in Sports
Germany’s victory over Brazil will be remembered for years to come in what proved to be a straightforward tactical battle.
Luiz Felipe Scolari recalled Luiz Gustavo to the starting XI, while Dante replaced the suspended Thiago Silva and Bernard operated on the right of an attacking three for the injured Neymar. Joachim Low named an unchanged lineup with Toni Kroos playing as the no.10 ahead of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira.
Marcelo was one of Brazil’s star performers in last year’s Confederations Cup, but here, he was exposed on several occasions as Brazil trailed the Germans by five goals in the opening half-hour.
It was the Brazilian left-back who conceded possession easily in Germany’s half, thus leading to Khedira storming past Gustavo and Kroos winning a corner that ultimately led to Thomas Muller’s opening goal. Subsequently, Kroos’ clever incisive ball to Muller will be remembered in the build up to Germany’s second goal. But it was Khedira's ball into space for the latter that guided Low’s side into a dangerous position.
Still, Scolari overlooked Germany’s strengths, and Low’s side were free to express themselves in midfield. Mesut Ozil drifted into central areas to create an overload in the build up to Germany’s third goal, and Kroos’ pressure saw the midfielder dispossess Fernandinho and combine with Khedira to notch his second goal of the match.
Muller and Kroos were always going to drift infield in search of space, which is why it was odd to see Scolari risk a potential overload and neglect a logical 4-3-3 formation. Germany dominated the midfield with Kroos passing his side to goal with a 93 per-cent passing rate, while Scolari’s side were constantly exploited by Khedira’s dynamism and vertical runs between the lines.
Nonetheless, Germany’s organization out of possession, and their pressing in midfield were equally exceptional. Khedira swarmed Gustavo –– often bypassing him in midfield with his power and tireless running –– while Kroos kept tight on Fernandinho. Brazil’s main creative outlet was through David Luiz’s long diagonal balls –– there was also an individual slalom that saw the centre-back brush Klose aside –– to Hulk in the left channel, but his final ball was poor. Likewise, there was also a short period where Oscar dropped deeper into midfield to link play with his teammates, but Lahm completed a key tackle on Marcelo to halt the Brazilian attack.
“We coped with the passion of the Brazilians and we knew that if we played to our capabilities we thought we would win – but we couldn’t have expected this result," Low said.
“We took our chances well and they strained under the pressure caused by conceding.”
This was an extraordinary result for Low’s German side –– who failed to progress past the semifinal stage in the last three major international tournaments –– but tactically, it was a predictable approach that proved successful due to Scolari’s naivety. Germany could afford to play a high-line due to a lack of runners, dominate the midfield with the wingers drifting into central areas to overload Fernandinho and Gustavo, and Muller exploiting space behind Marcelo.
It appears that Low has found the right balance within his XI, as Germany is a solitary win away from becoming the first European side to win the World Cup on South American soil.
More about Germany, Brazil, Fifa world cup, fifa world cup 2014, Joachim Low
 
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