Zee Media Bureau/Shobhan Saxena from Belo Horizonte
It was a humiliation of the worst kind. The team which was hoping to win the World Cup for the record sixth time was shown the door by a merciless opponent. Brazil not just lost the semi-final 1-7, it also shattered the dreams of more than 200 million people. At the end of the game, the players were crying and saying sorry to the nation, which was left wondering what went wrong?
Before the game, the focus had been on the absence of Neymar, who fractured his back in the quarter-final game against Colombia last week. There were Neymar face-masks and banners everywhere and “Forca Neymar’’ baseball caps were worn by Scolari and his squad as they entered the Estadio Mineirao in the afternoon.
And a wave of emotion carrying them, the 60,000 inside focusing the ambitions of this vast country, hoping local boy Bernard could fill the void. But Scolari’s side had skated on the edge of disaster to even reach this point. When it mattered, the absence of Thiago Silva, suspended because of a yellow card in the Colombia game, was more critical.
Without the skipper, missing the brains of the operation, Brazil looked for leadership at David Luiz. Instead, the man who had to be the strongest proved out to be the weakest link. And Germany took the ultimate advantage. Just 11 minutes had elapsed when they scored the first goal. Toni Kroos delivered a corner, Thomas Muller was allowed to peel away from six defenders and volleyed in unmarked from the six yard box.
The crowd, shocked, tried to respond. But it was as if the air had gone out of the Brazilian balloon. They had no answer to the calm, penetrative intelligence of Sami Khedira, the vision of Kroos, the perceptive movement of Muller out on the right.
As they conceded goal after goal, the Brazilian team saw the dream of winning the World Cup at home become the worst shame of history – a massacre at the hands of Germany. Soon after the match, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said “sorry” about the defeat and took the blame for the loss. He said he was “responsible” for the defeat and admitted that this was the lowest point of the team throughout their campaign. "First I apologize for the negative result as we are unable to reach the final. Let`s work and honour for our team which will play for the third place in Brasilia,” said the coach, after the game.
When asked why he didn’t make substitution as the Germans were firing goal after goal, Scolari said there was no time even to think. “"The goals came in 24 minutes, 25, 26, 28. It was one after another. There was a total blank," Scolari said.
David Luiz, who was the captain of the Brazilian national team on Tuesday in the absence of Thiago Silva, also apologized to the country after the defeat. “I just wanted to give a joy to my people. To my people suffering so much with so many things. But I could not, unfortunately. I say sorry to everyone, to all Brazilians. I just wanted to see my people smile. Everybody knows how important it was. I was happy to see the entire Brazil come together for football. But the German were better, prepared better, playing better," he said.
Luiz lamented the fact that they conceded four goals in six minutes during the first half. "We allowed 4 goals in 6 minutes. It`s a day of great sadness, but I learned a lot in life. I think we lost a little there," he added. "I have learned to be a man at all times I will not run away from anything. I will not let go and one day I`ll give this joy to all people..."
The scale and the manner of Brazilian defeat was so huge that it left even experts short of words to explain the game. Germany beat France 1-0 in the quarterfinals. They needed extra time to beat Algeria in the pre-quarter-finals. In the group stage, they drew with Ghana 2-2. But the same team thrashed Brazil 7-1 in the semifinals of the World Cup. The German team is not seven times better than the team of Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. But it was much better prepared than the Brazilian team.
Joachim Löw has been Germany coach for eight years -- since 2006. Previously, he spent two years as the assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann. In these 10 years, he has reformed the German football. On the other hand, Scolari was given charge of Brazilian team after the loss in the final of London Olympics in 2012.
Looking for long-term solutions through short-term measures seem to have done in Brazilian football, at least for now.