Brazil’s World Cup dreams ended in humiliating and brutal fashion as Germany inflicted their heaviest defeat in the first semi-final in Belo Horizonte.
A thunderous occasion that began with Brazil riding a tidal wave of emotion was reduced to a nightmare as Germany were 5-0 up inside 29 remarkable minutes in front of a disbelieving Estadio Mineirao crowd.
Brazil’s players mourned the absence of the injured Neymar before kick-off, but captain Thiago Silva was an even bigger loss. The result was their first competitive home defeat in 39 years, and the end of their hopes of making it to the World Cup final at the iconic Maracana on Sunday.
Instead, Germany will meet either Argentina or the Netherlands, who play on Wednesday in Sao Paulo.
Thomas Muller gave the three-time winners an early lead before a period of utter chaos saw Miroslav Klose break the World Cup scoring record, Toni Kroos add two more in the space of 179 seconds and Sami Khedira net a fifth.
Chelsea striker Andre Schurrle, on as a substitute, added two more after the break before Brazil’s followers delivered what must be regarded as the defining insult to their national team – cheering every German pass and applauding their goals.
Many Brazil supporters, swamped with such anticipation as they gathered in their thousands around the ground hours before kick-off, were reduced to tears after less than 30 minutes, and reduced to such a state of shock that it was only at half-time that they registered their first serious dissent.
This equalled Brazil’s heaviest margin of defeat, a 6-0 loss at the hands of Uruguay in the 1920 Copa America, but the impact of this reverse, not just on the world stage but in their homeland, will put this alongside the 1950 World Cup final defeat by the Uruguayans in Rio as their darkest football day.
Muller’s early goal was a big enough setback, but the manner in which Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side crumbled in the space of seven minutes is likely to be a matter of national debate in this country for years to come.
This was Brazil’s first defeat at home for 12 years. The loss for a country built on sporting pride, and at their own World Cup, will be bad enough to take. The scale of defeat will take the inquests to a new level.
The statistics stacked up like pieces of rubble around the feet of Scolari and his players. This was the first time a team had scored seven in a World Cup semi-final, and the biggest defeat in one of these games – beating West Germany’s 6-1 victory over Austria in 1954.