Posted on | July 9, 2014 | 19 Comments
Everyone who watched Tuesday’s World Cup semifinal match between Germany and Brazil was astonished by the historic 7-1 destruction the Germans inflicted on the host squad:
It is not Brazil, alone, that is in shock after the greatest humiliation in World Cup history.
Those of us who have held the 1970 Brazil team of Pelé, Gérson, Tostão, Carlos Alberto and others as the pinnacle of how soccer can and should be played must now put Brazil’s capitulation on Tuesday as the nadir.
Germany was good — very, very good in trouncing the Seleção 7-1 in one of its own stadiums Tuesday. But we cannot yet know how good because this was not, as some have said, a ruthless German exhibition of modern soccer. It is a Germany team that has been six years in the making, a squad that has coasted through this World Cup so far.
In Belo Horizonte, Germany met no opposition. Brazil, shorn of its poster boy Neymar because of an injury and deprived of its defensive leader Thiago Silva because of a suspension, simply rolled over like a puppy afraid at the sight of a Rottweiler.
By halftime, Germany was ahead 5-0 and the humiliation of Brazil was so intense it sparked fears of rioting and political instability:
The aftermath of Brazil’s defeat could turn ugly. There were reports of a mass robbery at a fan party in Rio de Janeiro and of fans setting fire to Brazilian flags in the streets of São Paulo even before the match was over. Local organizers and government officials have been concerned for weeks about the possibility that demonstrations — which have, for the most part, been subdued — would become more intense if Brazil were to be eliminated.
Many Brazilians have been upset about the billions of dollars spent on new stadiums and other World Cup-related projects. The success of the national team provided a natural balm, but now those emotions may become more inflamed.
“The time of bread and circus is over,” said Lisa Rodrigues da Cunha Saud, who attended the game with her brother. “Instead of stadiums, we need hospitals and schools,” she added.
Anyway, another occasion for Twitter sarcasm.
Wow. The last time anybody got beat this bad by Germany, it involved Stuka bombers.
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) July 8, 2014