Brazil’s humiliating exit from the World Cup is as close as it gets to a national trauma in a football-mad nation whose identity is closely associated with its team.
The country of 200 million people had hoped to win the title at home and erase memories of its 1950 World Cup defeat to Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro, the notorious “Maracanazo” at the Maracana Stadium.
But instead Brazil suffered the worst defeat in its 100-year footballing history, falling 7-1 to Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte — now the infamous “Mineirazo.”
“It looked like a game between adults and children,” wrote the prominent sports analyst Juca Kfouri on his blog. “Brazilian football has never experienced such humiliation.”
The country’s newspapers called it the biggest disgrace in the team’s history, with globoesporte.com dubbing it the “Shame of Shames.”
But other analysts said the Mineirazo could not compare to the Maracanazo.
“In 1950 we felt we had an unbeatable team and losing at the Maracana was unthinkable,” Michel Castellar, an analyst at the sports daily Lance, told AFP.
“This time, we knew that we had a team with a lot of flaws and that maybe they would not reach the final. Was it a national humiliation? Yes, because of the number of goals. But it wasn’t a new Maracanazo,” he said.
In 1950, Brazil had yet to win the World Cup and getting the title would have put the developing country on the map.
Since then, the Selecao has won a record five World Cup titles, gave the world the “jogo bonito” (beautiful game) and produced football giants as Pele, Garrincha, Zico and Ronaldo, winning over fans among the rich and the poor, white or black.
Today’s superstar Neymar was unable to play the semi-final after suffering a broken vertebrae in the previous game.
The power of football put a lid on protests that had marked the run-up to the tournament.