Germany have revealed that their players were told not to embarrass Brazil by coasting through the second half of Tuesday's World Cup semifinal.
With Joachim Low's side having gone 5-0 in front before half an hour had been played on an astonishing night in Belo Horizonte, the players were told not to "ridicule" the shattered hosts after the break.
Team manager Oliver Bierhoff said he had urged them to continue to "play seriously," and two more goals were added as Germany won 7-1.
Bierhoff told German TV network ARD: "It was, at least in parts, a humiliation. At half-time, we told the players to be respectful with the result and not ridicule Brazil.
"We told them to just keep playing seriously -- and our players did just that."
At the final whistle, Germany players comforted their distressed opponents, and Bierhoff said: "They did that by intuition. Some of them know each other from their clubs, are teammates, and we've also gone through the pressure of being hosts in 2006. You could see that pressure with the Brazilians."
Germany's win was the biggest ever in a World Cup semifinal, and could have been worse when Mesut Ozil missed a late chance to make it 8-0 shortly before Oscar's consolation goal.
Centre-back Mats Hummels, substituted with a knee problem, said in quotes reported by Focus: "I didn't pity them, but I did empathise. You don't wish a game like that on any team.
"That's why we wanted to continue playing seriously and not mock them. By no means did we want to ridicule them with any tricks. We wanted to show our respect, because we could also go to the dogs like that."
Bierhoff also calmed fears that Hummels could miss the World Cup final against Argentina on Sunday, saying his substitution had been "a precautionary measure" and adding: "I'd like to think that it will not be a problem."
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