For Brazil fans, a debacle even worse than 1950

Updated: 2014-07-09 11:24


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For Brazil fans, a debacle even worse than 1950

Brazil's David Luiz (L) is consoled by teammate Thiago Silva after their loss to Germany in their 2014 World Cup semifinals at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, July 8, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

Pressure was too much

The psychological pressure of trying to reverse that curse took its toll on the 2014 team, and may have explained the defensive breakdowns that led to Germany scoring five goals within the first 30 minutes of the match on Tuesday.

"We panicked a little bit and things went Germany's way," Brazil's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who led the team to its last title, in 2002. He said after the game that Tuesday's was "the worst defeat Brazil has ever had."

David Luiz, Brazil's star defender, was among the players who apologized to the nation on TV just after the game.

"I just wanted to make my people happy," he said, sobbing. "Unfortunately we couldn't."

The lopsided loss, the biggest margin ever in a World Cup semi-final, obscured what has been an otherwise surprisingly successful tournament.

While the lead-in to the World Cup was marked by doomsday predictions that stadiums and airports would not be ready on time, prior to Tuesday they had been drowned out by congratulatory talk about the hospitality of Brazilians and the high quality of play on the field.

Indeed, the tournament has not seen a repeat of the protests of last June, when more than 1 million Brazilians took to the streets to protest money being spent to host the World Cup, among other grievances. Most demonstrations over the last month have gathered only a few hundred people.

Streets were mostly calm following Tuesday night's game, although security was beefed up around the stadium in Belo Horizonte and other places around the country.

Nevertheless, some fans said the rout would radically change the way they saw the whole tournament.

"The memory of this World Cup will always be tarnished now. It will be remembered as a tragedy," Michelle Gomes, a local business manager, said at a bar in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil has won the World Cup on three continents, once in Europe, once in Asia and three times in the Americas - but never at home.

The darkened mood could dent President Rousseff's approval rating, although the effect might only be temporary, said Claudio Couto, a political science professor in Sao Paulo.

"If we (took the poll) in a month, I doubt that it will have any effect," he said.

Those who suffered through both landmark games didn't have quite the same perspective - at least not yet.

"It's a humiliation," said Lourdes Moura, 88, who was a medical student in 1950 when Brazil lost. "Back then I cried, really cried. Right now I'm furious."