Heading into Brazil's World Cup semifinal match against Germany, fans of the Selecao must have known that the hosts would be in for a severe challenge. Facing one of the best teams in the tournament without star Neymar and top defender Thiago Silva (also the team's captain), Brazil was always going to need several fantastic performances from individuals and an elite team effort.
Unfortunately, they must not have known how tough it would be in Germany's history-making 7-1 victory. After an opening 10th-minute goal from Thomas Muller (his 10th World Cup goal in only his second tournament) and a historic 23rd-minute strike from Miroslav Klose to take the all-time World Cup goal-scoring record from Ronaldo, Germany held a huge advantage. That 2-0 lead quickly turned ugly just a minute later, when midfielder Toni Kroos scored to make it 3-0. Then, shockingly, he scored again in the 26th minute to put Germany up 4-0. With more than an hour left in the match, Brazil was effectively out of the World Cup.
The fans were understandably not in a great mood. Take, for instance, this young child:
Or this woman's look of pure despondency:
Not all Brazilians reacted in the same way. For instance, this group — presumably fans and not the protestors that have marked this World Cup — decided to burn the nation's flag:
In Porto Alegre, site of several World Cup matches, people left the official fan fest in droves well before the final whistle (via Globo.com):
It's hard to know exactly what Brazilians found so awful — the horrific defending, the totality of Germany's dominance, the utter capitulation to a superior side, the realization that they would not win a World Cup on home soil, etc. When so many things go wrong, it's probably a combination of it all.
Brazil's fans have been consistently terrific throughout the tournament, providing awe-inducing crowd-wide renditions of the national anthem and giving the home side a major homefield advantage in all their matches. On Tuesday, that emotional support just wasn't nearly enough.
Somehow, things got worse for Brazil in the 29th minute when Sami Khedira scored Germany's fifth goal. Brazil got things together enough to hold Germany scoreless through the rest of the first half. It was also the first time that a team had scored five goals in the first half of a World Cup match since 1974. For that matter, Brazil hadn't given up five goals in a World Cup since 1998. It was a historically dominant half in more ways than one. Germany was not so overwhelming in the second half and Brazil grabbed a consolation goal, but the final score of 7-1 was an accurate reflection of the match.
The destruction was swift. Brazil no longer has hope of winning the World Cup. The best it can do now is salvage some pride and put forth a significantly less embarrassing display in the third-place match on Saturday. It's the least these fans deserve.
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