The last competitive goal scored during a Brazil/Germany match was from the right boot of Selecao legend Ronaldo, who tucked away his side’s second goal past the helpless Oliver Kahn in the 2002 World Cup final in Yokohama, Japan.
It was a goal that cemented the former Real Madrid striker’s place at the top of the tournament’s goalscoring charts, with eight goals overall, and one that gave Brazil their fifth World Cup triumph.
Ronaldo scored three more times in a World Cup, all coming in the 2006 edition in Germany, making him the record goalscorer in the history of the competition, but in the latest episode of the fascinating subplot that was flowed through the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, El Phenomenon’s record is once again under threat, with one Miroslav Klose desperate to grab just one more goal to put him ahead of the Brazilian in the all-time record books.
Klose, 36, finished three goals behind Ronaldo in 2002, came top in 2006 with five goals and netted a further four times in South Africa 2010; with the German striker needing one solitary strike to claim the World Cup record for himself.
Both Klose and Ronaldo played on opposite sides in the last (and only other) time their respective nations have played each-other in a major international competition, and of all the players that took part in the game, only the aging German remains.
The list of players in the final 12 years ago is staggering even today. Ronaldo, Klose and the aforementioned Kahn were joined by Olivier Bierhoff, Cafu, Denilson, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo, to name a few! Brazil, on paper, deserved to win the game, with their star-studded XI making a mockery of today’s offering.
Fred, Hulk and (probably) Willian will form the Selecao front three against the Germans tonight in Belo Horizonte, with manager Luis Felipe Scolari surely pining for a triumvirate akin to his three R’s (Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo) for this semi-final.
The former Chelsea manager is the only other survivor from the 2002 triumph (after a spell away from the side), but he will be wary that his and his nation’s 100% record over Germany could soon be coming to an end.
This fear arguably stemmed from the fall of golden boy Neymar, the closest thing to the style of that 2002 strike force, with the 22-year-old out for the rest of the tournament after fracturing a vertebra in his spine in the 2-1 win over Colombia in the quarter-final.
The absence of captain Thiago Silva, after the 29-year-old failed to have his suspension overturned yesterday, has further exacerbated the concern among Brazil fans across the globe, especially considering the potential of the German beast.
Joachim Low is currently enabling a squad of players that surely bests that of 2002, with Germany boasting some of the best midfield players on the planet, a rearguard that is the envy of all, and two vastly different striking options, both lethal in their own way.
Thomas Muller has had the honour of sharing goalscoring duties with Klose this summer, and the Bayern Munich hitman has not disappointed, with his four goals and two assists propelling his side to the last four, just two wins away from ultimate glory.
His form will see Klose start the game from the bench, and most neutrals will be itching to see the striker get another chance to earn footballing immortality.
While he may have lost what pace he had, he will not be short of service, with the likes of Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze and Mesut Ozil three of the finest creative talents around. But apart from their 4-0 demolition of Portugal in the opening match of Group G, the Germans have not steamrollered sides in a way that was expected of them; something that will give Brazil hope.
Die Mannschaft squeezed past Algeria in the second round, after drawing with Ghana and narrowly defeating the USA in the two other Group G games, and also just edged a lacklustre French side 1-0 in the quarters. If you’re looking for passion, drive and excitement, it really is Brazil, despite their squad inefficiencies.
Seeing off both Croatia and Cameroon comfortably in Group A (with Mexico somehow keeping them out in the third match), the Selecao then took part in arguably the most dramatic of second round games, ousting the impressive Chile on penalties; and finally toppling the vibrant Colombia, 2-1, to reach the semis.
While it has not been plain sailing for Scolari’s men, they have certainly shown enough to warrant their place in the last four. Swept along by a deafening cacophony from their hugely supportive nation, and powered through all obstacles by the wonderfully combustible David Luiz, the Selecao will not be going down without a fight, regardless of the ominous German machine ahead.
What do you think? Can Brazil stop the Germans?
Key World Cup links:
Brazil World Cup 2014 Team Page.
Germany World Cup 2014 Team Page.
World Cup 2014 Matches – Fixtures & Results
World Cup 2014 Player & Team Stats
World Cup 2014 Group Tables
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Our main World Cup 2014 news page.
The Official Soccerlens World Cup Predictor Game.