Germany destroys Brazil's World Cup hopes 0
Two hours before the beat down in Belo, the streets outside the Estadio Mineirao were lined with Brazilians.
They were hoping to catch a glimpse of their heroes; 23 men selected to reward their unwavering support with World Cup glory.
It was biblical in nature -- akin to Palm Sunday -- as Brazil's team bus navigated through crowds and streets ahead of its World Cup semifinal against Germany.
Fans ran into the streets. They waved flags. They even toppled over one another just to see players they expected to be world champions come Sunday.
With two hands high in the air, the city of Belo Horizonte bowed down.
In a matter of minutes, the same awestruck fans who lined the streets were arming themselves with tomatoes, figuratively speaking.
"This is a catastrophic loss," embattled Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari said in the aftermath of an unthinkable 7-1 defeat.
"It was terrible. Obviously it was terrible," Scolari added.
This is a country that doesn't lose at home. Until Tuesday night's jaw-dropping loss, Brazil hadn't lost a competitive match here in 39 years.
Still, with the hosts missing Neymar and Thiago Silva -- which Scolari clarified post-game wouldn't have made a difference -- many locals here expected the worst.
What they didn't expect was the most embarrassing result in their team's history -- one filled with trophies and World Cup titles, along with one shocking defeat.
More than anything else in their storied past, Brazilians will always recount what happened at the Mineirao on this night.
"I'm going to be remembered for this loss, the worst defeat to Brazil's history," Scolari said. "That was the risk in taking this position."
There were questions post-game about the direction of Brazilian soccer.
How could this happen? Is an inquiry needed?
It wreaked of a desperation -- local media pleading with Scolari for answers with an entire nation in mourning.
Never mind the fact the Germans executed their game plan to perfection, capitalizing on a Brazilian team that lacked defensive discipline all over the park.
"We knew if we were courageous and aware of our own possibilities that we would win this match," German manager Joachim Low said of his side scoring four times in six minutes.
"We knew they were confused," he added. "They never found their organization ... We realized they were cracking up."
After Thomas Mueller scored off a corner 10 minutes in, the Brazilians were at least on the same planet as their European counterparts.
But as the match progressed, the desperation in Brazil's body language became apparent.
With massive expectations in front of home support, the hosts began to crack up.
They threw caution to the wind, despite having 70 minutes to get back in the game.
They became stretched and had an amateurish defensive shape -- highlighted by Marcelo when Miroslav Klose doubled Germany's lead.
The Brazilian fullback followed Mueller's run when he could have just let him wonder offside, allowing Mueller to connect with Klose for his record-breaking goal.
Even then, at 2-0 there was still a chance Brazil could put things right.
Only Scolari failed to make any kind of defensive adjustment. The Brazilians, in some kind of 4-2-4, were ripped apart with nobody seeming to understand their defensive responsibilities.
Nobody bothered to track Toni Kroos making a late run at the top of the box before he rifled a third past Julio Cesar.
Kroos and Sami Khedira combined two minutes later off a simple one-two that twisted and turned David Luiz and Silva's stand-in centre back, Dante. It was embarrassing.
To cap the first-half scoring, German centre back Mats Hummels somehow beat five Brazilian players in a sequence that led to Khedira making it 5-0.
"Nothing could have been done in this exact moment," Scolari said after his tactics were questioned.
To break this thing down in the simplest terms: The Brazilians were far too offensive.
Marcelo, Bernard, Oscar, Hulk and Maicon were all liabilities in the defensive end.
It's why Germany's bench boss tossed Mueller out wide, allowing him to exploit the space vacated whenever Marcelo went forward with reckless abandon.
"We got a little bit panicked, and then things started to happen normally for them and everything went bad for us," Scolari said. "So I don’t have any regrets for the choices I made."
Scolari reiterated that the responsibility was shared. World class players -- all worth tens of millions of dollars -- completely capitulated in front of a sea of yellow.
In truth, however, it was likely his best coaching job to date. After all, there were questions as to whether Brazil would bother coming out after the break.
"I did my job as I've always done it, anywhere," Scolari said. "I did what I thought was best and what I thought was correct."
Despite Brazil coming close on a few occasions, the game turned into a big joke in the 69th minute when Andre Schurrle scored from close-range on a cross.
Schurrle made it 7-0 with 10 minutes remaining off a nice half-volley that beat Cesar at the near post.
Maybe the most disrespectful thing a fan base can do happened next.
The Brazilians here Tuesday night began applauding their opponents.
In an even more awkward moment, Oscar scored at the death to cut the lead to six only to hear his goal answered by jeers.
"I'm sorry we were not able to get to the final," Scolari apologized to Brazilians everywhere. "We're going to continue working and honouring. Our team is playing for third place now in Brasilia on Saturday."
Referee Marco Rodriguez didn't bother playing stoppages time, preferring to put Brazil out of its misery.
After Rodriguez blew for full-time, Brazil's players -- the country's ex-heroes -- circled up at midfield.
Following a brief pow wow, they turned and applauded their fans, who answered them with more howls and whistles as they made their way into the tunnel.
The days of Palm Sunday had been erased over 90 minutes.
And the Brazilian team was left facing a much different processional.
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