Belo Horizonte, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - Germany breezed into its eighth World Cup final on Tuesday after thrashing host nation Brazil, 7-1, at the Estadio Mineirao.
After coming away with an impressive 1-0 victory over the offensive-minded French squad in the quarterfinal, Joachim Low's side were surely full of confidence heading into Tuesday, but few could have foreseen the German ambush that occurred.
The Germans scored five times in a span of 18 first-half minutes, starting with Thomas Muller's thundering volley after just 11 minutes.
World Cup veteran Miroslav Klose doubled the lead when he scored in the 23rd minute. It was his 16th goal in World Cup play, which moved him one ahead of Brazilian great Ronaldo for the all-time scoring lead.
But the onslaught continued as Toni Kroos struck twice in a two minute span with goals in the 24th and 26th minutes and Sami Khedira added a fifth dagger in Brazilian hearts in the 29th minute, leaving the thousands of Brazilian fans in shock and sending many of them to the exits.
The second half was more German dominance as Andre Schurrle scored a pair of goals in a space of 10 minutes as the final tally was the highest total of goals ever scored by one team in the World Cup semifinal.
"It was an impressive performance. It's the best team performance for Germany I've been involved in," Kroos said after the match. "We started believing from the first minute as we thought that Brazil were a little bit hesitant in their decision-making and we took advantage of that. After we scored the first, the goals kept coming. Had someone had said we'd have won 7-1 I wouldn't have believed them, but I thought we were outstanding, that's all I can say. We're here to become world champions, we're happy and relieved to go through - but there's still one game to go. No one has won the World Cup in a semifinal."
With the victory, Germany will vie for its fourth World Cup title, and first since 1990, on Sunday against the winner of the other semifinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands.
Brazil entered the contest shorthanded without the services of star man Neymar, who suffered a fractured vertebrae against Colombia in the quarterfinals, and captain Thiago Silva, who was unavailable due to suspension.
The defeat was Brazil's first setback in any competitive match at home since 1975 and it also matched the side's worst-ever loss, a 6-0 drubbing against South American rivals Uruguay during the 1920 Copa America.
"It's the worst moment of my football career and the worst day of my football life. But life goes on," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said after the match. "Who is responsible for this result? I am, it's me. The blame for this catastrophic result can be shared between us all, but the person who decided the lineup, the tactics was me. It was my choice.
"We tried to do what we could, we did our best. But we came up against a great German team. We couldn't react to going behind. We got disorganized and panicked after the first goal and then it all went wrong for us. Not even the Germans can tell you how this happened, but it's because of their skills and you have to respect that. We have to learn to deal with it. My message for the Brazilian people is this. Please excuse us for this performance. I'm sorry that we weren't able to get to the final. And we're going to try to win the third place match. We still have something to play for."
The Selecao drop into the third place game to face the loser between Argentina and the Netherlands on Saturday.
Brazil actually had the better of the play in the opening couple minutes, keeping possession and pinning Germany deep, but they were unable to make anything of it as a strike from Marcelo three minutes in flew wide of the right post and the Germans seized control in the 11th minute.
Kroos swung in a well-struck corner kick from the right corner and the Brazilian defense left Muller unmarked and he ripped it past Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar on the volley for his fifth goal of the tournament.
It was 2-0 for the Germans in the 23rd minute after Klose pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area and had a good go at goal that was stopped by Cesar, but he smashed home the rebound for his record-setting tally.
Just a minute later the Germans made it 3-0 when defender Philipp Lahm slid a ball across the face of goal that found the feet of Kroos at the top of the box and he ripped it past Cesar to the far post.
Two minutes after that Kroos completed his double when he got on the end of a deft layoff from Khedira and slotted it home with ease.
The destruction continued in the 29th minute with Arsenal man Mesut Ozil getting in behind the shaky Brazilian defense. He avoided a wild challenge from Dante and dropped to back for Khedira to smash home.
Brazil partially recovered from the first-half barrage with some solid play in the opening minutes of the second half. Ramires did well to get to the end line and send it across the face of goal and it was begging for a tap in at the far post from Oscar, but Manuel Neuer cleared it away with authority.
Paulinho got in behind in the 53rd minute and had a strike on goal that was stopped by Neuer. The Tottenham man then had a second attempt, but it was again knocked away by Neuer.
Schurrle came on as substitute in the 58th minute and made his presence felt in the 69th minute when he turned home a low cross from Lahm and completed his double 10 minutes later with a fantastic strike off the underside of the crossbar, leaving Cesar with no chance.
Brazil did manage to get one goal deep in stoppage time as Oscar chased down a long ball from Marcelo on the left flank, cut inside to his right foot and hammered it past Neuer to save a little bit of pride.
But the goal did little to influence the outcome as the final whistle blew moments later, sending Die Mannschaft to the final in incredible fashion.