Sao Paulo, Brazil – There is no morning after pill for this. Right now, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlos Alberto Parreira and three more are in a sort of in their public trial on live television.
Brazil’s 7-1 loss in Belo Horizonte to Germany broke several records in World Cup history. The biggest loss in a semifinal match in the history of the tournament; the biggest goleada on Brazil in an official match; the only country to lose two World Cups at home.
The morning papers have a cacophony of shame. “Humiliation” was the most used. “Failure,” “Disgrace” and others.
Yes, Germany has been improving in an eight-year cycle leading to this rolling over the Brazilian team like a Panzer. After the match, Felipao said “mea culpa,” but the day after the coaches are defending their work methods, methodology, and philosophy on a nationally televised press conference. “we’re continuing to work and we’ll be back.”
Brazil may not come back from this.
This was such a crushing defeat, such a Waterloo or Stalingrad, that it could mark the end of an era, where Brazilian hegemony could be broken forever. Uruguay was that team in the early years of the sport. Then Hungary was the team with the mystique.
The Brazilian ethos mirrors the American trope of “We’re number 1″ sport: “So vale ganhar.” (only winning counts).
One fan noted, I went to the bathroom, and in five minutes we were down 4-0.” She was right, by the 29th minute, Germany had decided the match. It was seven goals, but the Germans took their foot off the accelerator.
After the shock, some went to the streets. Sao Paulo registers 23 buses burned, stores looted and fights in the Vila Madalena neighborhood.
Of the five men at the dais, only Felipao and Parreira spoke. The purpose was to wrap Brazil’s present disaster around their last two World Cup victories, in 1994 and 2002. They all are in a form of public trial, on live TV.
After that flood of goals on his team, Felipao saw the glass half-full. “It was painful. But we’ re among the best four teams in the world,” said Scolari.
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In Brazil, there were ominous clouds before the match against Germany. The Seleçao has been given to coaches that are specialists in physical preparation and have made organization on the field and defensive play a priority.
Brazil made 96 fouls, twice as many as any of the other semifinalists. Young players are sent and sold to Europe before they develop.
Fan favorite David Luiz, mouthed “disculpa” (I’m sorry) after the match.
The Confederations Cup victory in 2013, signaling that Brazil was back in the elites, was a mirage. Neymar’s injury was just the detonator. There were no players that were arguably left off the team. No talents forgotten or forsaken. No cases like Carlos Tevez in Argentina.
Once the shock wears off, Brazilians may react. This World Cup has gone wrong and the only salve detonated in Belo Horizonte. The public spending and lack of infrastructure other than the stadiums; the deaths in constructing these and the public unrest over the event. In Brazil, they have a philosophy of “we’ll cry, but with a smile.”
Now is the time of reckoning. On Friday, here in Sao Paulo there are street demonstrations announced.
Felipao said their “dream” is to play the third place match on Saturday. It’s the equivalent of a student saying you were aiming to get into Harvard, but is looking forward to the community college near home.
The bright side of this 7-1 thumping? People will stop talking about the trauma from the Maracanazo in 1950 final match.