By Mike Collett
BELO HORIZONTE Brazil (Reuters) - Germany inflicted the most shocking result in World Cup history when they crushed hosts Brazil 7-1 in a semi-final that brought grief to millions of home fans and caused utter astonishment around the world on Tuesday.
The inspired Germans scored five goals in 18 first-half minutes to re-write the record books as Brazil's defence caved in to leave their dreams of a sixth world title in tatters.
It was Brazil's record World Cup defeat, their first at home in 64 competitive matches since 1975 and was the first time they had lost by six goals in any match since Uruguay beat them 6-0 in the Copa America in 1920.
It was also the biggest ever victory in a World Cup semi-final and German striker Miroslav Klose became the tournament's highest scorer of all time with his 16th World Cup goal to move one clear of Brazilian Ronaldo.
The only survivor in either squad from the 2002 World Cup final when Brazil beat Germany in Yokohama, the 36-year-old Klose can add to that record when Germany aim to become world champions for the fourth time against Argentina or the Netherlands in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
The defeat ended Brazil's dreams of winning a first World Cup on home soil to bury the ghost of their 1950 final defeat by Uruguay which entered Brazilian culture as the "Maracanazo" the tragedy of the Maracana.
This defeat can just as easily be described as the "Mineirazo", although this humiliation was far worse.
After a brief 10-minute spell when Brazil looked dangerous down the left flank, they began wobbling when Thomas Mueller opened the scoring after 11 minutes when he stole away from his marker David Luiz and volleyed home.
Germany, playing neat passing football, quickly took the upper hand.
Brazil, without injured forward and talisman Neymar but more importantly defender and captain Thiago Silva at the back, wilted.
"I guess it was a very impressive match and I think from the first minute we had the impression something was possible," Germany's man of the match Toni Kroos told reporters after scoring two goals.
"From the first minutes we realised the Brazilians were a bit upset, they were not so clear in their reactions.
"It's hard to believe we were 5-0 up so quickly, but I was there, I know what happened. It is obvious to us that we delivered a marvellous performance. If somebody had said before we were going to win 7-1 I would not have believed them. We're not world champions yet. This was the feeling in the dressing room."
Brazil defender Davis Luiz was in tears after the game.
"I just wanted to make my people happy," Luiz said. "Unfortunately, we couldn't. I'm sorry, I'm sorry to all Brazilians, I just wanted to see them smile, everyone know how important it was.
"They were the best, they prepared better, they played better, we let in four goals in six minutes. It is a very sad day and we we'll learn from it."
The German fans were still in the Mineirao more than an hour after the match ended, cheering and raising the level when the German players came out to greet them.
No one had predicted such a scoreline.
Brazil had concerns about the loss of Neymar and Thiago Silva and Germany had looked solid on their way to the last four, but after their opening 4-0 win over Portugal they only scored only six goals in their next four matches.
After Mueller gave them the lead, however, the floodgates rapidly opened with four goals in six minutes.
Klose made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute with his record-breaking goal after smacking in a rebound off goalkeeper Julio Cesar, Kroos scored with a sweet shot and the midfielder struck again to make it 4-0. Sami Khedira added the fifth before halftime after a smart one-two with Mesut Ozil.
To their credit, Brazil rallied at the start of the second and forced a series of saves from Germany keeper Manuel Neuer before Germany substitute Andre Schuerrle struck after 69 and 79 minutes.
The hosts' only reward on a day that belonged entirely to Germany was Oscar's last-minute consolation goal, a sad footnote to a stunning defeat.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)