Brazil trailed Germany 1-0 with 22 minutes gone in its World Cup soccer semifinal. Seven minutes later, the host nation’s bid to win a record-extending sixth title was over after it had allowed four more goals.
“There were 10 minutes when I don’t know what happened,” Brazil defender Marcelo told reporters after yesterday’s game in Belo Horizonte. “Today was the worst day of our lives. The Brazilian people have every right to criticize us.”
Germany won the most lopsided World Cup semifinal 7-1. The worst defeat in Brazilian history was also the biggest loss for a tournament host. The rout ended a run of 63 competitive matches at home without a defeat for Brazil, going back to 1975.
Perhaps the biggest statistical surprise is that the win wasn’t Germany’s best at the World Cup. It defeated Saudi Arabia 8-0 at the 2002 edition, before going on to the final, where it lost 2-0 to Brazil.
Shell-shocked Brazil fans streamed away from the Estadio Mineirao before halftime, unable to believe that their team was already losing 5-0.
“It’s a catastrophe,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari told reporters. “It’s the worst loss of a Brazil national team, yes, but we have to learn how to deal with this.”
Germany, which won the most recent of its three titles in 1990, advances to a record eighth World Cup final on July 13 in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium against two-time winner Argentina or the Netherlands, who play today.
Germany scored five goals in 18 minutes during the first half. The onslaught came against a Brazil lineup that was missing Neymar, the team’s top scorer, who was sidelined with a back injury.
The margin of defeat matched a 6-0 drubbing for Brazil by Uruguay in the Copa America in 1920. Brazil’s previous biggest loss at the World Cup was 3-0 to France in 1998, while the most goals it had conceded prior to yesterday was against Poland in a 6-5 win after extra time at the 1938 edition.
The only time Brazil conceded more goals was in an 8-4 exhibition defeat to Yugoslavia in 1934.
There was also a personal record for Miroslav Klose, whose goal after 23 minutes made him the career scoring leader in the World Cup with 16 goals, one more than Brazilian Ronaldo. The Germans now have 223 goals since 1930, three more than Brazil.
“This kind of match maybe only happens once in a career,” Klose said, playing down the importance of his mark. “What’s important is we stayed in control of the match. I imagine the Brazilians lost motivation” after falling behind.
Thomas Mueller volleyed in a corner kick in the 11th minute to open the floodgates. After Klose scored 12 minutes later, Toni Kroos added two more goals within three minutes and Sami Khedira netted in the 29th minute to make it 5-0. Substitute Andre Schuerrle scored in the 69th and 79th minutes and Oscar got Brazil’s goal in the final minute.
“After 4-0, I found it difficult to believe -- just like the crowd couldn’t believe it,” German defender Mats Hummels said. “It’s difficult to explain what happened.”
Germany now is the 8-11 favorite to win the World Cup, with Argentina at 13-5 and the Netherlands a 4-1 longshot, according to U.K. online bookmaker SkyBet. That means a successful $11 bet on Germany would return $8 plus the original stake.
Brazil has now blown two chances to win the World Cup on home soil. In 1950, it lost the final game 2-1 to Uruguay to allow its southern neighbor to claim a second title. A draw would have secured Brazil’s first world title.
That defeat is still treated as a national disgrace and referred to as the Maracanazo, or the Maracana Blow. A new name will have to be thought up to describe yesterday’s loss.
“We are sorry, we let people down,” said Dani Alves, an unused Brazilian substitute. “You can’t cry, that just gives ammunition to your enemies. You have to get up and carry on.”
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at email@example.com Dex McLuskey, Rob Gloster