Hummels: Time to make the 'big' World Cup dream come true

The Germany defender insists there will be no wild celebrations after their destruction of Brazil and has called on his team-mates to focus quickly on the final

Mats Hummels has urged Germany to focus on securing a fourth World Cup, claiming that there will be no overexcitement over beating Brazil.

Germany earned an incredible 7-1 win over the tournament hosts in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, with Toni Kroos and Andre Schurrle scoring twice and Thomas Muller, Miroslav Klose and Sami Khedira adding to the scoresheet before Oscar’s consolation.

However, Hummels stressed that, since Germany knew they had won the game early on, they experienced a sense of calm at the final whistle and are already fully concentrating on the next fixture.

“We think of it now, enjoy it and show our best on Sunday,” the 25-year-old defender told reporters.

“It was surprisingly quiet. You can also say without being arrogant – we have known for over an hour that we are through and that is different from tight games when you feel high emotion at full-time.

“This is really something special, what each individual has done. And we will now try with everything we have to have to make the big dream come true.”

Toni Kroos echoed the thoughts of his compatriot, stressing that the final was now the sole concern despite the impressive result against the Selecao.

“We have played a great game, we have almost overrun them at the beginning,” he said.

“We have had an incredible game but another game is still waiting. We are here to win the World Cup, we are not yet there.”

Muller hails 'crazy' Brazil thrashing

The Germany forward was ecstatic with his team’s semi-final performance as they inflicted a humiliating 7-1 defeat on the World Cup hosts in Belo Horizonte

Thomas Muller could not hide his delight with Germany’s 7-1 victory over Brazil in the World Cup semi-finals, describing the result as “crazy.”

Germany launched an onslaught with a flurry on first-half goals, Muller opening the scoring before Miroslav Klose, Sami Khedira and two from Toni Kroos left the hosts trailing 5-0 at half-time.

Andre Schurrle added two more after the break and, though Oscar managed to grab a consolation for the Selecao, Muller could not disguise his shock at such a remarkable victory.

“Of course, you couldn’t expect that,” the 24-year-old told ZDF.

“That shows how different games can be. Brazil played differently than defensive teams and we took advantage of this in an extraordinary way. It was just crazy.”

However, as Germany look forward to a final with either Argentina or Netherlands at the Maracana on Sunday, the Bayern Munich forward urged his team-mates not to get carried away.

“You should keep a sense of proportion,” he continued.

“Every match is different. Just like everyone talked us down after the match against Algeria, they will hype us now. We are a squad with big quality, with an awesome team.”

Muller’s words were echoed by Miroslav Klose, whose goal allowed him to surpass Brazil’s Ronaldo to become the World Cup’s all-time top scorer with 16 – although he abstained from his traditional somersault celebration.

“We had a great start,” the 36-year-old said.

“You can see in training that we can play together. We really are a unit. It is important that set-pieces work, you could see that today again when we scored the first [following a corner].

“Toni [Kroos] passes the ball where it needs to go – that’s a real strength. I did no flip [after my goal] because someone kicked my foot when I shot before.”

Lahm: I've not been at my best in Brazil

The versatile defender confessed that he is unhappy with his current form but refused to be drawn into the debate over where he should be positioned by coach Joachim Low

Germany captain Philipp Lahm has admitted that he has not played his best football at this summer’s World Cup.

The versatile defender was utilised in midfield for his country’s first four games in Brazil before being returned to his usual full-back berth for the 1-0 quarter-final win over France.

Lahm looked more at home in defence but he refused to be drawn into the debate over where he should be deployed by coach Joachim Low, arguing that the only thing that matters is what is right for the group.

“I know I haven’t played my best football throughout the tournament, but it isn’t about me or any other player,” the Bayern Munich ace told the Times of India. “It’s about the team and about winning the matches.”

“For me and everyone else in the squad, it is important that the team is successful and that we develop ourselves further. This is what we are working towards.

“I wasn’t surprised [by being moved to full-back for the France game]. The coach decides which player to put in which position.

“He also decides what formation, which starting 11 and what substitutions he makes and we players follow that.”

The Germany captain is happy with Germany’s overall performance in Brazil but believes his side have to improve on their player in the final third if they are to go and win the title.

“Though we haven’t been perfect, we have done a lot of things right. Therefore we are in the semi-finals of the tournament,” he mused ahead of Tuesday’s last-four meeting with Brazil in Belo Horizonte.

“We have had a lot of good attacks in all our matches, but the final pass or the goals haven’t come which would have made things a lot easier for us.

“We came to Brazil with the aim of winning our fourth World Cup title. Now we have to concentrate, best prepare for the semi-final and then see if we can make it to the final next Sunday.

“Therefore, I will say again, we came here to win the World Cup and want to take the trophy home with us.”

Neuer best in the world – Zoff

The former Italy goalkeeper has lavished praise on the Germany star and says his ability with the ball at his feet marks him out as a cut above his peers

Forget his ability with his hands, it’s Manuel Neuer’s poise on the ball that marks him out as the best in the world in the eyes of Dino Zoff.

The former Italy goalkeeper is recognised as one of the finest to have pulled on a pair of gloves and has kept a close eye on the current generation of keepers at the World Cup.

Brazil’s Julio Cesar and Keylor Navas of Costa Rica are two men who have caught the eye following their penalty shoot-out heroics, but for Zoff there is one man who stands head and shoulders above the rest.

He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “The German goalkeeper (Neuer) is currently number one in the world. He has class, coldness, a sense of place. And, compared to many of his colleagues, he has one more weapon … he’s terrific with his feet. “

Neuer will be the first name on the team sheet when Germany take on Brazil in the first of the two World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday, where he will line-up against opposite number Cesar.

The Brazil goalkeeper has rolled back the years at the tournament after a mixed couple of years at club level, in which relegation from the Premier League with Queens Park Rangers was followed by a loan move to MLS side Toronto FC.

Zoff has been impressed with Cesar’s ability to raise his game and pointed to his obvious preparation prior to saving two penalties in the shoot-out victory over Chile.

“You could see that he had studied well the characteristics of the Chilean penalty takers,” Zoff explained.

“I’m happy because Julio must have had a year of hell. First put off by QPR, then forced to emigrate to Toronto to play.

“Julio is a leader. Maybe he’s not as explosive as in the days of Inter but he is still one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the world.”

Betting Special: Can Robben pip Messi to World Cup Golden Ball prize?

While the Barcelona maestro looks intent on replicating Diego Maradona in dragging Argentina all the way to glory, Al Hain-Cole thinks a certain Dutchman may stand in his way

Having all but carried Argentina into their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, Lionel Messi is Paddy Power’s current 13/8 (2.63) favourite to win the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament.
No player left in the tournament has scored a higher proportion of their side’s goals in Brazil than the Barcelona man, who is responsible for half of his team’s eight strikes.

Having also played a pivotal role in Argentina’s two knockout phase victories without finding the net, it is no surprise to see Alejandro Sabella’s captain so highly fancied to win the highest individual accolade.

However, Arjen Robben has been equally instrumental in the Netherlands’ progression so far, and will surely see his current 7/2 (4.50) odds drop should the Oranje overcome the Argentines to reach a second consecutive final.

With this in mind, it is well worth backing the Bayern Munich man now before Wednesday’s semi-final, particularly as Louis Van Gaal’s side have been arguably the team of the tournament until now.

Six goals in just five matches from midfield should make James Rodriguez a strong candidate at 4/1 (5.00), although the fact that the top scorer has not lifted the award since 1990 suggest that the Colombian is unlikely to receive double accolades this time.

Instead, David Luiz offers intriguing value at 6/1 (7.00) after starring in a surprisingly unflamboyant Brazil team, particularly as main man Neymar 16/1 (17.00) has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament.

Should Germany triumph then Thomas Muller 10/1 (11.00) and Manuel Neuer 16/1 (17.00) will surely be among the front-runners, with the latter aiming to replicate Oliver Kahn’s 2002 success as the only goalkeeper to win the Golden Ball.

Meanwhile, Robin Van Persie is a potential long shot at 20/1 (21.00), a price that will seem like great value should he lead the Netherlands to victory at the Maracana on Sunday.


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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.