ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
The images out of Brazil right now are of fans in tears, faces with looks of disbelief, hands covering mouths in shock. In the first of two semifinal World Cup matches, the home team is losing and it's losing big. Germany is leading 5-0. Let's go to NPR's Tom Goldman in Rio de Janeiro. Tom, what's the scene where you are in Rio?
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Well, I can tell you the scene right now is a lot different than it was earlier today, Robert. When we were out and about in Rio de Janeiro, it was what's called a half-holiday where businesses have the option to shut down halfway through the day, at noon, and get ready for the big game. And, you know, people were out in their yellow with green-trimmed Brazil T-shirts. And it was pretty festive mood. But as you so aptly describe the scene now, it's a massacre. And people are responding accordingly. It's just absolutely stunning. And face paint is melting in the stands, let me tell you.
SIEGEL: I have to interrupt because it's now 6-0. The Germans just scored yet another goal. There were high expectations for Brazil in this World Cup. They, of course, lost two key players - Neymar to injury, the striker, and the team captain, Thiago Silva, who is a defensive specialist. How much do you think one can attribute their being routed today by the Germans to the absence of those two players?
GOLDMAN: Well, you know, Robert, I don't know how many Neymars it would take to beat this German team. I really don't think it's his absence. It- perhaps it's Thiago Silva's absence. He was - he is the captain and kind of the centerpiece of the defense. And for anyone who's watched this game, defense just does not exist for the Brazilians. On at least one of the scores, the ball rolled across the box completely untouched by a Brazilian defender and midfielder Toni Kroos just booted it in. It looked like practice, you know. So it was absolutely embarrassing. They are - the defense is completely disorganized, as evidenced by this unbelievable score - an insurmountable score.
SIEGEL: Yeah, I mean, embarrassing for Brazil but pretty impressive play by the Germans, don't you think?
GOLDMAN: Oh, fantastic. And I think what's most impressive about the Germans is early on in the game Brazil really was in control and pushing the tempo and attacking. But the German defense is so good they had dropped back a number of times, at least five players. And there was just no way any ball was going to get through. And, you know, so Germany's defense - and like they say in a lot of sports, a good offense springs from a good defense - their counter-attacks were working well and it was just child's play at the other end in front of the Brazilian goal.
SIEGEL: Assuming Germany holds on, which is a pretty safe assumption at this point.
GOLDMAN: We're going to assume that, Robert.
SIEGEL: Yeah. They'll face either Argentina or the Netherlands. Those teams play tomorrow in the other semifinal. How would those matchups look?
GOLDMAN: Well, you know, I think those teams, Argentina and the Netherlands, are full strength. They're not missing any of their key players as Brazil is today. You hope, number one, that there will be a great semifinal match. And I think you have the potential for that. The Dutch looked really good. Their head coach, Louis van Gaal, continues to make fantastic moves including in the last game when he took out the starting goalkeeper and put in a substitute goalkeeper who just dominated the shoot-out, the penalty kicks. And Argentina, of course, showed a little bit more than just Lionel Messi. We've talked about that before - the need for them to be more of a complete team. And they showed that in their quarterfinal match. So we hope those two have a good team. And we hope that whoever survives can do something against what appears to be a German juggernaut that has now scored more goals than any team in World Cup history with that 6-1 you talk about. I believe it is now 222.
SIEGEL: Tom Goldman on the semifinal game between Brazil and Germany. Germany is up 6-0. Thanks, Tom.
GOLDMAN: You bet.
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