Brazil 4 – 2 Germany Yokohama
(Richarlison 7′, 22′, 30′
This game took place at the same Yokohama stadium where Brazil beat Germany in the 2002 World Cup final on a Ronaldo brace, which is also remembered for an out-of-character blunder by German keeper Oliver Kahn. The opener was also a repeat of the 2016 Rio Olympics men’s final. Just like in both of those contests, Brazil on Thursday very much had the upper hand.
Brazil were the dominant side from the get-go, and Richarlison’s seventh-minute goal was anything but surprising. A beautiful pass found the Everton striker in front of Germany keeper Florian Müller. The new VfB Stuttgart signing’s attempt to clear the ball landed straight back at Richarlison’s feet, and he made no mistake.
The German defense’s lack of ability to contain Brazil’s attacking play resulted in Richarlison’s scoring his second. Germany’s defense was caught off guard by a deep pass to Guilherme Arana. The Atletico Mineiro man’s beautiful cross found Richarlison alone in the box, and the striker had no difficulty heading the ball home.
The Everton striker, who’s reportedly been drawing interest from Real Madrid, wasn’t finished either, as he competed his hat trick after a beautiful assist from Hertha Berlin’s Matheus Cunha.
The one thing that Germany could take away from the first half was Florian Müller’s brilliant save of Cunha’s penalty shortly before the end of the first half.
Nadiem Amiri’s 57th-minute goal only managed to give Germany a sense of hope for six minutes. A Maximilian Arnold foul on 38-year-old Dani Alves resulted in the Germany captain being sent off after receiving his second yellow card. It felt like the game was as good as over.
Glimmer of hope
Despite their win being all but secure, Brazil’s players kept on posing challenges to Germany’s defense and were close to scoring more goals, playing beautiful attacking football in the process.
Germany did push forward more, which eventually paid off. First Nadiem Amiri scored a bit of a lucky one to get Germany onto the scoreboard before Ragnar Ache’s 84th-minute goal gave Team D a glimmer of hope. For this short late phase of the match, Germany took the game to Brazil in a desperate bid to score the equalizer despite being a man down, but at this stage it was already too little too late.
Paulinho’s goal in injury time put the match beyond any lingering doubt.
Saudi Arabia next
After the game, goalkeeper Florian Müller told ARD public television that Germany’s start to the game was to blame for the loss.
“We gave them too much respect in the first half, and they made use of it very well,” said the 23-year-old, who recently joined Stuttgart.
“This game is done, we now have two important games ahead of us, and everything is still possible,” he said.
Losing to such a good Brazil team isn’t something to be ashamed of. But it was the mannger of the defeat is likely to worry head coach Stefan Kuntz and his staff. The biggest eye-opener will have been how easy Germany’s defense made it for the likes of Cunha and Richarlison to create scoring chances.
Though Brazil had the air of a team who are taking the Olympic tournament very seriously, Germany looked every bit a team that were only able to fill 18 of the possible 22 places in the squad.
Germany’s tournament continues with their second Group D match — against Saudi Arabia on Sunday.