It wasn’t just a bad dream. Brazilians woke up Wednesday to dreadful headlines describing the shame and humiliation of their soccer team’s historic defeat of 7-1 to Germany in the World Cup’s semifinal.
The country’s leading soccer publication stated simply: “A day to forget.”
“It was the most shameful performance of all times,” said Almir Rogelio, 32, who was waiting at a newspaper stand for a friend. “I honestly woke up and didn’t even want to remember what happened.”
During Tuesday’s match, Germany scored faster than partying fans could keep count. Later, tears smudged the faces of children painted in Brazil’s colors of canary yellow and green. Brazil coach Felipe Scolari buried his face in his hands.
“It was a tragedy. Sad, very sad, the greatest defeat of all the history of the Brazilian national team,” wrote Tostao, one of Brazil’s forwards in the 1970 World Cup and now a sports columnist for the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper.
Most heartbreaking for many Brazilians was suffering the country’s worst World Cup defeat on home turf, as it hosted the tournament for the first time in 64 years.
“It was embarrassing. They have some nerve with the Brazilian people. We deserved so much better,” said Manuel Alves, 58. “The worst was all the money spent, having so many other problems that need to be fixed.”
Brazil spent billions of dollars preparing for the tournament, and the high cost has ignited angry protests against the World Cup over the past year. Demonstrators have complained about so much being spent while the nation suffers from woeful public services.
Although few thought Brazil’s humiliating loss would spark renewed mass protests, it is sure to put a severely sour taste back into the mouths of the nation’s fans.
“I hope this can make people wake up and start thinking with their heads and not their emotions and that people translate the anger they are feeling at the ballot boxes,” said Antonio Hipolito, who works at a bookstore in a wealthy part of Rio but lives in a distant, hardscrabble neighborhood.
“Soccer is just an illusion and we need to wake up to reality,” he said.
Around the Internet, both Brazil fans and casual observers couldn’t help commenting on the loss.
One posted an image of famous Brazilian superfan Gaécho da Copa handing over his famous mock World Cup trophy to a German fan:
While another Brazilian referenced one of his country’s most enduring attractions:
Movie buffs compared the semifinal match to the climax of The Avengers:
Others made enjoyably dumb jokes:
While others poked fun at ill-fated Brazilian goalie Jélio César.
Americans, though, did what we always do: found a way to make the whole thing about us, with the help of new national hero Tim Howard.