7/8/2014 7:00 PM
Brazil's World Cup dream shattered against Germany
By TALES AZZONI
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — It was a humiliating home defeat of record proportions that no Brazilian could have seen coming.
With its defense collapsing early and nobody able to spark the attack, Brazil conceded four goals in a seven-minute span, trailed 5-0 at half time and was routed 7-1 by Germany in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday.
"We got lost a little bit there," Brazil's stand-in captain David Luiz said. Germany "realized the game was there for the taking and scored the goals.
"It's very difficult to explain right now. The dream is over, in a way that the people didn't want."
Brazil's most heartbreaking World Cup defeat had been a 2-1 loss to Uruguay in the last match of the 1950 World Cup that it hosted. The loss to Germany ranks right up there with that painful defeat.
Fans were in shock, some leaving way before the final whistle.
The Brazilian crowd that had been supporting the national team throughout the tournament jeered loudly after the match, and again when the players raised their hands to applaud them. Luiz kneeled on the ground and prayed, with his arms and index fingers pointed up. Oscar, who scored Brazil's lone goal, cried near midfield.
"The players knew from the beginning that by playing at home our obligation was to reach the final and win the final," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said.
Home-field advantage wasn't enough for Brazil again, but not having its top two players available for the semifinal played a major part in the defeat at the Mineirao Stadium. Without suspended captain Thiago Silva and injured star striker Neymar, the Brazilian team appeared rudderless.
Although Silva's replacement, Dante, was not directly responsible for Germany's goals, the defense seemed lost from the beginning, giving up space and easy chances to the Germans, who had a 5-0 lead by the 29th minute.
Brazil pressured in the beginning, but the attack never had a chance to keep the hosts in the match. Central forward Fred, one of the most loudly jeered players when he was substituted in the second half, ended the tournament with one goal. No other Brazilian striker — other than Neymar — scored at the tournament. Of the team's 11 goals, four came from Neymar and 10 from defenders and midfielders.
Neymar was ruled out of the World Cup after fracturing a vertebra late in the 2-1 win against Colombia in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Seven years after winning the bid to host the tournament, the five-time champions already know that they can finish no higher than third place. The playoff — some argue the cruelest of the World Cup matches — is Saturday against the loser of the Netherlands- Argentina semifinal.
It was one of Brazil's heaviest losses in terms of goals conceded. It had lost 8-4 to Yugoslavia in a friendly in 1934. Tuesday's result equaled the margin of its previous worst defeat — the 6-0 loss to Uruguay in 1920.
Germany scored the most goals and the biggest margin of victory ever in a World Cup semifinal.
Follow Tales Azzoni at http://www.twitter.com/tazzoni
(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)