It was a disappointing night for all of Brazil in midweek as the hosts crashed out of the World Cup in their devastating 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals.
With Brazil’s talisman Neymar out of the tournament with a back injury and captain and central defender Thiago Silva out through suspension the hosts began their semi-final with hope that proved to be more than just naivety.
In Brazil the concept that the team was ’Neymar plus 10’ was effectively proven correct in theory as the hosts were devastated by an efficient and organized Germany team at the top of their game.
It was in fact their captain they missed most, evidenced by the seven goals they shipped and no one missed Thiago Silva more than his defensive partner, the captain for the night, David Luiz.
The centre-back only just completed his £50 million move from Chelsea to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-German this month after three years at Stamford Bridge. The 6ft2” defender had become something of a cult figure for the West Londoners but returning manager Jose Mourinho simply didn’t seem to trust the 27-year-old.
He had been criticised throughout his spell in England for his risqué approach to defensive duties, his tendency to go wandering in games and switch off at crucial moments.
Whilst it cannot be doubted David Luiz is an exceptional talent, his performance against the Germans exposed all the reasons the Special One had reservations about him.
For the first goal, in fairness to him and to the Germans’ intelligence, he was blocked off in what was clearly a well-rehearsed training ground set piece from which Thomas Muller scored but at 1-0 the hosts still had plenty, if not all, to play for and 81 minutes to get themselves back in the game.
12minutes later Miroslav Klose made the Brazilians’’ task twice as tough but Luiz, this time free in space in his defensive half, simply ball-watched – there was no communication from the stand-in skipper, no action, just passivity as he watched the play go on around him, walking by the penalty spot as the ball passed into the back of the net. Brazil’s back four looked like a bus queue.
One would have thought that would be time for someone, anyone, the captain especially to take responsibility and shut up shop – at least until half time – they could have parked the bus or at least slowed the game down but again and again they left themselves open, exposed. The third was more of the same just one minute after the restart – Luiz strolled towards the post with some vague intention of blocking to no avail as Toni Kroos scored his first of two.
Kroos’ second came from a mistake as Fernandinho was caught in possession 30 yards from his own goal. On the replays David Luiz is nowhere to be seen as Dante and Fernandinho attempt to redeem the error – the captain is just strolling into shot as his teammates throw their arms around in despair.
The fifth is probably Luiz’ worst, if you could call it that – he charges out to meet a challenge 40 yards from goal and although the German overran the ball, Luiz pulls out of the challenge allowing his opponent to poke the ball towards Sami Khedira who, of course, inevitably, scored via a Mesut Ozil assist.
Andre Schurrle’s brace in the second half only added insult to injury for his former Chelsea teammate – two sublime finishes that came long after Brazil had mentally and emotionally evacuated the Estadio Mineirao.
If Jose Mourinho needed any evidence whatsoever to cite his reasoning behind his sale of David Luiz, this game has it all.
It had the lack of communication, the lack of leadership, the poor positioning, the laziness to get back, the irresponsibility to help his mates out, the lack of focus, the lack of conviction – it exposed every weakness in every way that resides in David Luiz’ play and, if anything, it depicts every reason PSG may well be regretting their £50 million spent.