I write this 45 minutes after the end of a World Cup Semi Final that will be talked about forever. But at this present time, in the immediate aftermath, it was a match which is only being talked about in terms of the end of an era for Brazilian football.
Maybe, but that misses the central issue regarding this match. This was the start of something special in football.
The Germans have been building for this since their nadir in 2000 (lost all of the Euro 2000 matches) and 2001 (losing 5-1 in Munich to England).
They were down, bowed, humiliated and a shadow of their former selves. They looked at themselves in a cool, calm and professional manner and set about a long-term programme of re-building and improvement – with a little help from Howard Wilkinson’s plans, and the English FA’s own insular arrogance.
What we saw tonight was the culmination of 12 years of hard work, focus and a keen philosophy for the improvement of German football on a domestic and an international level. They have reached the semi-finals in the last four tournaments they have participated in. Are you watching, Greg Dyke – or are you happier being at Wimbledon while the World Cup is on?
If the boot had been on the other foot, we’d have been drooling over an awesome Brazil side. As it was, the boot on the Brazilian foot may well have had its studs showing, thigh-high. They may have their own issues – they played in a World Cup on home soil where they won few friends around the world – but it’s still unthinkable that anyone could put seven past them.
Be in no doubt – Germany were as good as it got and, despite feeling that they can yet get even better, their first priority is to prove themselves the best on the stage that matters this coming Sunday.
Oh, and congratulations to Miroslav Klose on his 16 World Cup Finals goals – scored at a combined distance not dis-similar to Andy Carroll’s idea of ‘close control’ – knocking Ronaldo into second place.