Watch as Brazil beats Germany in their first meeting in nearly four years, snapping the Germans' 22-match unbeaten run in the process.
Brazil's win over Germany on Tuesday won't erase the memory of the 2014 World Cup semifinals, but it should give the South American giant a momentum boost as it heads to the World Cup.
Nearly four years after the 7-1 destruction on Brazilian soil sent the Seleção in to a tailspin, they had their rematch with Germany and emerged victorious with a 1-0 result in Berlin. Gabriel Jesus's first-half header was the difference, and it snapped Germany's 22-game unbeaten run, which dated back to the Euro 2016 semifinals.
Much like in the 2014 meeting, Neymar was out injured Tuesday, but Tite's squad has become more balanced and less reliant on its centerpiece, and Brazil passed its biggest test of the March fixture window, following Friday's 3-0 win over Russia.
The early indications were that it would be a fruitful day for the hosts. Germany thought it may have won a penalty in the seventh minute through Leroy Sane, who blazed down the left wing on a lightning-quick counter attack after Brazil gave away possession in the final third, but no call was given and play continued on.
Brazil threatened in the 11th minute–oddly when the first of Germany's seven goals was scored in 2014–with Philippe Coutinho possessing deep in the Germany box, but he elected to lay it off instead of fire at goal from a tight angle, and Germany cleared the danger.
Ilkay Gundogan had the next chance of the match in the 17th minute. Julian Draxler completed a well-timed run in behind and hit a cut-back pass for the Man City midfielder just inside the Brazil box, but his first-time effort was completely mishit, looping out of play despite him having a clear shooting lane from 18 yards.
The first half became a war of attrition between strikers and the offside line, with Mario Gomez and Jesus repeatedly trying to unlock the opposing defenses a bit too early.
Jesus finally toed the line in the 37th minute and broke free, hitting the brakes to force two Germany defenders to scoot by him only to then put his powerful effort well high of Kevin Trapp's goal.
Jesus made good on his next chance seconds later, though. Willian delivered a cross in from the right, and the Man City forward powered forward a diving header. Trapp tried to keep it out of his goal, but it had cleared the line by the time he got both hands on it to make it 1-0 to the Seleção.
Brazil maintained its momentum into the second half. It started with Coutinho firing high from long range, and more pressure followed. In the 55th minute, Willian had a chance from 15 yards blocked, with Paulinho firing the rebound at Trapp to force a corner kick.
Moments later, Coutinho had another great opportunity, taking a lay-off pass 18 yards out and whipping a laser just high of the bar.
Sandro Wagner, who came off the bench just after the hour mark, appeared to have a great chance to equalize in the 72nd minute, but his close-range header–under defensive pressure–was directed well wide of the mark.
Draxler came close to scoring an equalizer at the death, with his long-range blast palmed away by Alisson, preserving the victory for Brazil.
Here were the lineups for both teams:
Germany is in Group F at the World Cup along with Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, while Brazil will face off against Costa Rica, Switzerland and Serbia in Group E. If they both win their groups, they'll be on opposite ends of the knockout bracket, meaning they could only meet again in the World Cup final.