A first competitive home defeat in 39 years. A heaviest ever World Cup defeat. The worst day of Luiz Felipe Scolari’s life. A heartbroken Brazil will mourn the incomprehensible thrashing by Germany for generations to come.
A simply astonishing night in Belo Horizonte will live long in German memory as Brazil’s worst nightmare was realised in a spectacular downfall which sent shockwaves around the globe.
The 2014 World Cup has reputably produced a mixture of thrills, spills and surprises but nobody foresaw one of the most extraordinary outcomes in the tournament’s illustrious history.
With just one hurdle to jump before the ultimate paradise of a Maracana final, a forlorn La Selecao descended to hell in their own backyard.
A blistering four first-half goals in a six-minute spell ripped Brazil’s dreams of righting the wrongs of the 1950 defeat to Uruguay to tatters in an extreme catastrophe that reduced players to floods of tears in a brutal experience representing the lowest points of their careers.
Some may have forgotten the magnitude of the occasion and will never have the privilege of wearing their national jersey again. The ones that do will have the added burden of repairing the damage and regaining trust whilst battling the dreaded memories of this inconceivable failure.
The profound despair and desolation was plentiful and implausible all around. Never has a nation walked from the pitch at half-time in a World Cup match in such a beaten and disconsolate manner, in the knowledge that their unacceptable fate had been well and truly sealed within 45 soul-destroying minutes.
As the unpredictable chain of events escalated, the importance of a magnificent occasion quickly became a laughing stock with the ease of a training ground exercise for Joachim Loew’s side with Brazil the butt of the jokes and the victims of a trauma that could have been worse than it was.
The 50,000-strong Brazilian faithful were understandably subdued inside the Estadio Mineirao and, after overcoming a state of shock, compounded the utter humiliation by giving every German pass the ‘Ole’ in the latter stages.
Brazil’s every move has been followed by millions and every detail scrutinised as the pressure to appease an entire nation by lifting a sixth world title intensified.
Topping Group A on goal difference, scraping past Chile on penalties and applying roughhouse tactics to edge past Colombia to reach the last eight, La Selecao have failed to win over the purists and have been unconvincing throughout the tournament.
They have ridden their luck, disguised their deficiencies and turned on the waterworks but there was no hiding in a capitulation in which every shortcoming in an average squad was superficially exposed – and many will feel they have received their just desserts as the weight of expectation came crashing down.
Neymar’s mercurial talent had inevitably inspired their progression with four goals and a crucial winning spotkick and captain Thiago Silva’s leadership skills (and ability to chip in with the odd goal here and there) have been pivotal to the organisation of the team.
The intriguing question surrounding how the Samba Boys would cope without their two talismanic figures – injured and suspended respectively – received an emphatic answer.
The overwhelming reliance on a single 22-year-old superstar to provide a nation with optimism, motivation and – most importantly, a solitary goal threat – could not possibly be believed – until now.
The collective performances of individuals were unforgivably shambolic, the spirit was missing and the willingness to triumph was non-existent.
The broken figure of Scolari expressed his repentance to the Brazilian public and put a consoling arm around the distraught troops who let him down as he attempted to come to terms with the wreckage of a national disaster which was supposed to resemble a successful project that was seven years in the making.
A hot-headed David Luiz was selfish and unreliable, Marcelo was positionally incompetent, the anonymous Fred was roundly booed and Fernandinho gave the impression of a lost sheep who did not know which path to take in his journey home.
What direction Scolari takes in the aftermath of such a catastrophe is anyone’s guess, if indeed he is given the opportunity to apply the changes that Brazil’s approach evidently need.
The inept display of a lack of character was as stunning as it was painful to witness as the outstanding Germans inflicted a devastating masterclass which left an entire nation astounded and bewildered – generating the most talked-about sporting event in Twitter’s existence.
The revered attacking and skilful brand of football is renowned for its Brazilian origins and is an ingredient which has ignited a memorable World Cup but the administering of Germany’s cruel footballing lesson will have made the bitter pill that even more harrowing.
On a night when records were tumbling to the page at a speed quicker than rain droplets in England, Miroslav Klose’s unsurpassable 16 World Cup goals accomplished on Brazilian soil would have hurt more than most. Not least the man himself Ronaldo, who watched down from his commentary position with an impassive expression that told a thousand stories.
The short-term recovery period will last only three days until the meaningless battle for the consolation of third place when the wounded squad come out of their hiding places to face the music but the long-term effects will take years to heal.
While the Germans, who have established themselves as experienced tournament campaigners with immense fortitude, head to Rio de Janeiro with the ticket for the showpiece event, a dark chapter of record-breaking proportions will be rubber-stamped in Brazil’s lavished history.
The statistics make grim reading and the unchartered post-mortem into the unseen carnage will begin in earnest. This was an unthinkable embarrassment on the grandest scale for a country steeped in tradition and emotion whose pride will be left permanently scarred.
8 July 2014 will be woven into the record books and classified in the unprecedented section but can never be forgotten as the world holds its bated breath to anticipate whether the sun will ever rise again on Brazil’s World Cup ambitions.