Germany gave one of the most breathtaking displays of offensive firepower in World Cup history Tuesday - demolishing host Brazil in the semifinals, 7-1, to advance to the championship game.
Germany's goal total was the most ever by one team in a World Cup semifinal, while Brazil matched its worst-ever margin of defeat and allowed seven goals for the first time in 80 years. Brazil also lost its first official competitive match at home since 1975.
"The responsibility for this catastrophic result is mine,'' Brazil's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "I was in charge.''
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The Germans seized control early, scoring five times in the first 30 minutes at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.
Two of those goals came off the foot of Toni Kroos, and teammate Miroslav Klose recorded one to become the all-time scoring leader in World Cup history with 16 goals. Earlier in the tournament, Klose tied the prior record of 15 held by former Brazilian star Ronaldo.
Germany's Andre Schuerrle also scored twice, both in the second half. Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira each added a goal for Germany, which will appear in a record eighth World Cup final.
Oscar redeemed some pride for Brazil with a goal in the 90th minute.
"Brazil was shocked after the goals. They did not expect that," Germany's coach Joachim Loew said of his team's early offensive success. "They did not know what to do. Their defense was not organized. A little humbleness would not hurt now.''
In 1950, the only other time Brazil has hosted a World Cup, Uruguay beat the Brazilians in the championship game, 2-1.
"We wanted to make the people happy ... unfortunately we couldn't,'' said Brazilian defender David Luiz, who had scored in each of the last two matches. "We apologize to all Brazilians.''
Germany was the apparent favorite entering the match, which featured two perennial football powerhouses that have won a total of eight World Cups.
Brazil played without captain Thiago Silva and star striker Neymar. Silva was serving an automatic one-game suspension because he accumulated two yellow cards. Neymar, who scored four goals in the tournament, was out with a fractured vertebra.
Nevertheless, Brazil would enjoy home-field advantage at a stadium seating thousands of its rabid, yellow-shirted supporters.
They were hoping that Brazil would repeat its performance from the 1962 World Cup. That year, legendary Brazilian Pele suffered an injury in the second match that prevented him from playing in the rest of the tournament. But Brazil went on to beat Czechoslovakia in the final, 3-1.
This time, though, Brazilian optimism quickly turned to despair at the hands of a German offense that attacked with surgical precision.
Germany Not Intimidated
"It was important to stay calm, cool and courageous in facing Brazilian passion," Loew said.
Germany, which posted its biggest World Cup win since routing Saudi Arabia, 8-0, in a group match in 2002, next plays the winner of the other World Cup semifinal pitting Argentina against the Netherlands on Wednesday in Sao Paulo.
Argentina, led by four-time FIFA Player of the year Lionel Messi, is seeking its third World Cup championship. The Dutch, finalists three times, lost to Spain in the World Cup championship in South Africa in 2010.
The Dutch are concerned about star striker Robin van Persie, who has been suffering from stomach problems. Dutch coach Louis van Gaal said he would not be able to make a decision on van Persie's status until the day of the game.
The semifinal winners meet for the championship in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. The losers play for third place on Saturday in Brasilia.
In other news Tuesday, FIFA announced that the 2014 World Cup has broken online viewing records. The organization said, for example, that in the United States alone, a record 5.3 million people watched the round of 16 match between the U.S. and Belgium on the web sites of television networks ESPN and Univision.