Brazil has been shockingly eliminated from soccer's World Cup after suffering a 7-1 loss against Germany in a semifinal match.
Five different goalscorers tallied for Germany as they handed their rivals their first home loss since 1975 and the biggest defeat for a country hosting the World Cup. Among those who beat Brazilian goalkeeper Julio César was Miroslav Klose who surpassed Ronaldo to become the top goalscorer in World Cup history.
The memory of Brazilian striker Neymar, who suffered a tournament-ending injury in the previous match versus Colombia, was strong as fans donned masks of the infirm player and his jersey was displayed by the team following the national anthems. Yet the lack of defensive stalwart Thiago Silva, who was suspended for receiving too many yellow cards, seemed to be a greater absence than Neymar.
For the first few minutes of the match Brazil looked solid yet the hope of heading to the championship match quickly disappeared into thin air. What is being called the "Mineirazo" began when Thomas Müeller opened the scoring in the eleventh minute and the German offense broke the floodgates open with four more goals before the half-hour mark. The result left most of the 60,000 plus in attendance stunned in silence while others sang a chorus of insults upon visiting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
(After the match, Rousseff tweeted "Like every Brazilian I'm very, very sad about this defeat.")
Though Brazil was much more organized and forceful in the attack in the second half but could not beat the fast reflexes of German netminder Manuel Neuer. The Brazilian defense continued their woeful performance, however, as Germany scored twice before Oscar tallied Brazil's lone goal late in the match.
"I just wanted to bring some happiness to my fellow countrymen," said a tearful team captain David Luiz following the final whistle. "I apologize to all the Brazilian people," Luiz added.
"Who is responsible when the team plays? I am. It's me," said Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. "If I were to think of my life as a player, as a coach, as a teacher, this was the worst day of my life. I'll be remembered probably because I lost 7-1, the worst defeat Brazil have ever had," noted Felipao who lead Brazil to its latest World Cup crown in 2002. (Ironically, Brazil won the championship match 2-0 over Germany).
César, meanwhile, was "stunned" at the result and admitted that he would've "preferred losing 1-0 based on my mistake." He also noted that the team "will left its head up" following the drubbing but his optimism doesn't seem to be shared by Brazilian fans who left the Mineirao Stadium before the end of the match.
"We are part of one of the greatest shames in the country's history. The team is dead. I don't want to witness this anymore," 54-year-old Marcelo Stefani said.
"Scolari is to blame. Brazil reached the semifinals because the other teams are weak," observed Frederick Turner who apparently forgot that the Verde-Amarela faced stiff challenges from the likes of Mexico, Colombia and Chile.
A few Brazil supporters did not take the news of their team's elimination lightly and torched buses in Sao Paulo while police fired tear gas at attendees of the Recife Fan Fest. A stampede occurred when "dozens of youth snatched bags, phones and jewelry" at a public viewing of the match on Copacabana Beach in Rio when Other fans were more blase:
Bruno Dana, a travel agent from Rio, was more nuanced, saying the result would not have a long-term effect. He said: "The bottom line is that everything's a party here. You can't stay sad. Sports are just like this."Brazil can obtain a measure of redemption in the third-place match on Saturday against the loser of Wednesday's semifinal between the Netherlands or Argentina.
Others expressed sympathy. "I think Brazil got too stressed with the first goal because they weren't expecting it," said Rafaela Bueno, a visitor from Belo Horizonte "The team wasn't as well prepared as the Germans. The Brazilian team has a low average age. They're just not so balanced."
But such was the scale of defeat that it also inspired black humour. One internet wag posted a doctored picture of the Christ the Redeemer statue with Uzi machine guns in each outstretched arm with the slogan: The Cup Stays.
Video Sources - YouTube user Associated Press and RadioBAYERN3
Online Sources - BBC Sport; Forbes.com; The Latin Americanist; El Observador; Bloomberg; Folha.com; The Guardian; infonews.com; Twitter