BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil – Luiz Felipe Scolari apologized to the entire nation of Brazil and accepted the blame for his team's crushing 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semifinals.
Scolari admitted Tuesday was the darkest experience of his career after the remarkable contest at Estadio Mineirao left the host country heartbroken as its dream of clinching the World Cup for the sixth time was destroyed in clinical fashion.
"If I was to think of my life as a football player, coach and teacher, I think it was the worst day of my life," Scolari said. "I am going to be remembered probably because I lost 7-1 for Brazil but I knew that was a risk when I took this position.
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"My message is for the Brazilian people and to Brazilian fans. Please forgive us for this negative mistake. I am sorry we weren't able to get to the final. This is a catastrophic, terrible loss, the worst loss. We have to deal with that."
Goals from Thomas Mueller, Miroslav Klose, two from Toni Kroos and another from Sami Khedira put the Germans up 5-0 after less than 30 minutes. Andre Schurrle added two more in the second half before Oscar grabbed Brazil's only score in the dying minutes.
Brazil's devastated players slumped to the turf at the end of the game and could scarcely believe the emphatic way in which they had been dumped out of the tournament.
Scolari, who led Brazil to championship glory at the 2002 World Cup, accepted that the defeat and the astonishingly one-sided score line was his fault, citing his own tactical approach and player selection decisions.
In the months and years leading into the tournament, he repeatedly insisted that nothing other than lifting the trophy would be acceptable.
"Who is responsible when the team plays?" he said. "Who is the coach? Who picks the team? I am. It is me. The catastrophic result can be shared with the whole group, my players will tell you that we share it. But the person responsible is me.
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"This is the worst defeat Brazil has ever, but it happened. We did and we tried to do what we could. I don't have any debt. I did my job as I have done it everywhere. I did what I thought was best and correct.
"They knew since the beginning that one of the things we had to do was to get to the final, win the final and be champions. They did what they could do."
Brazil, somewhat cruelly, must now try to regroup before it takes on the loser of Wednesday's second semifinal in the third-place playoff in Brasilia on Saturday.
Few teams ever have to deal with the level of pressure and expectations faced by Scolari's men. Ultimately, they were neither good enough nor mentally strong enough to handle them.
The players suffered, Scolari suffered and an entire country will continue to look back on this night with bitter disappointment.
"We lost," Scolari said. "We all lost."