Rio de Janeiro • Catastrophic. Suffering. A Historic Humiliation.
Those were just some of the apocalyptic headlines Brazilian newspapers used online to describe the national soccer team’s stunning 7-1 drubbing by Germany in a World Cup semifinal match Tuesday.
Tears smudged the faces of children painted in Brazil canary and green colors. Brazil coach Felipe Scolari buried his face in his hands. Fans at watch parties across the country wailed in anguish.
In the hours after the shellacking seen by hundreds of millions of TV viewers around the globe, Brazilians struggled to come to grips with the unthinkable: Brazil suffered its worst World Cup loss ever — and it happened on their home turf, with the nation hosting the tournament for the first time in 64 years. Dreams of a sixth championship were shattered.
"I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was like the game was on replay," said Valeria Mazure, a 67-year-old retired teacher drinking beer in Rio, and sporting Brazil’s colors in a green tunic and yellow scarf. "I’m feeling disappointed, sad, but more than anything I’m feeling embarrassed. It was embarrassing to watch."
Some fans in the Belo Horizonte stadium for the game exited at halftime, with Germany already leading by a numbing 5-0. Some tore up their tickets and gave the thumbs down to TV cameras.
"Five to zero is so embarrassing, we’re not going to stay any longer," Ribeiro Franca said. "One to nothing is fine, one-one, two-one, two-two, but five to nothing is shameful for a country that has a tradition of soccer."
President Dilma Rousseff, who is facing an October election that many think could be made tougher by the soccer team’s poor showing, took to Twitter to try to rally the nation.
"Like many Brazilians, I’m very, very sad because of this defeat," she tweeted. "I feel bad for all of us — for fans and for our players. But let’s not be broken. Brazil, ‘get up, shake off the dust and come out on top.’"
A widely shared "photo" on Twitter portrayed German President Angela Merkel, arms raised in victory, standing atop the mountain overlooking Rio, replacing the iconic Christ statue.
"Watching the Brazil team play in earlier matches, I thought there was a possibility that Brazil could lose — but I never imagined it could lose so terribly," said Ricardo Azevedo, a fan in Rio.
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