Loew: Home pressure 'crippled' Brazil
Germany coach Joachim Loew believes Brazil's players were overwhelmed by the pressure of trying to win the World Cup at home, a sentiment expressed by several current and former players after their 7-1 semi-final mauling.
Germany, who have had a sport psychologist with the team since 2004, have also gone to great lengths to shield their players from the pressures at the World Cup, setting up their base at a fortress-like purpose-built compound on a remote beach in rural north-eastern Brazil.
The relaxed and always-composed deportment of the Germany players stands in sharp contrast with the emotions exhibited and tears shed by Brazil players at the tournament, scenes that have amazed some Germans.
"Perhaps the pressure was just too much," Loew said in an interview on the German football association (DFB) website when asked why Brazil had imploded in the first half when Germany scored five times.
"The expectations on the team in their home country might have crippled them. We know all about that from our own experience in 2006," he said, referring to Germany's heart-breaking semi-final 2-0 loss to Italy.
"That's why I feel for my coaching counter-part Luiz Felipe Scolari, why I feel for the Brazil team and the whole Brazilian nation," he said.
News emerged earlier in the tournament that Brazil started using a sports psychologist to help the team amid worries about their mental state after keeper Julio Cesar and captain Thiago Silva cried in front of millions of TV viewers.
"I talked with Dante the other day he told me the team was riding on only emotion," said Giovane Elber, a former Brazil and Bayern Munich striker who works as a pundit for German TV, referring to the Brazil defender.
"Dante told me they're trying to get through each round with emotions. But we saw the team fell apart after falling behind. You might be able to win a match or maybe two with emotions but you're never going to win a World Cup on emotions alone and no tactics.”
Meanwhile, Germany defender Mats Hummels is undergoing treatment for a knee injury but should be fit to play in the World Cup final on Sunday, team manager Oliver Bierhoff has said.
Hummels asked to be taken off at half-time against Brazil due to the injury. He first hurt his knee in Germany's 4-0 win over Portugal at the start of the tournament.
"Everyone's okay except for Mats Hummels and he's getting further treatment," Bierhoff told German TV, adding the players were given the day off on Wednesday. "It's a precautionary measure. We assume he'll be able to play in the final."