São Paulo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Humiliation, shame, sadness: Three words that summarize Brazilians’ feelings after their historic 1–7 defeat in the semifinal match against Germany on Tuesday. As Brazilians prepare for the third place play-off against the Netherlands on Saturday, the atmosphere in São Paulo has not got any better.
Seeing Argentina lose its semifinal on Wednesday could perhaps have made Brazilians feel better about their failure in the World Cup—but they beat the Netherlands in penalties, and will face Germany for the World Cup on Sunday. Now, Brazilians run the risk of seeing their greatest football rivals celebrate a victory on Brazilian turf, at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro that will host the final.
This is definitely a World Cup Brazilians would like to forget. All that’s left for the host team is to try to win against the Netherlands on Saturday, but confidence within the Brazilian national team is a low as it can be.
Brazil did not start the Cup very well. The first goal they scored was an own goal in their opening match against Croatia, even though they eventually won 3–1. Then, Brazil drew 0–0 with Mexico and defeated Cameroon 4–1. Moving into the Round of 16 with a match against Chile, Brazilians had to go to penalties to win—and in their quarterfinal against Colombia, the 2–1 score clearly showed they would have to do better if they wanted to add a coveted sixth star to their iconic jersey.
“I’m very sad—not because we lost the game, as from 32 teams only one would win. It would be normal to lose the match. The problem was the quantity of goals we conceded. It was a shame to us and we’re kind of being humiliated,” said Antoneson Jesus, looking at a group of Argentineans cheering in front of him.
His feeling was shared by millions of Brazilians all over the country. Since the tournament began, the protests against the World Cup had tapered off and Brazilians were for the most part happy to host the event.
“To be honest, I think that nobody has digested it yet. It is a day that will stay in history forever. It is sad and I think it will still take some time so that we can understand what happened,” said Andrea Tieli.
In her opinion, the team had not trained hard enough and was hampered by the loss of its captain, Thiago Silva, who was suspended for the match.
“I don’t think that [injured striker] Neymar would solve it. Maybe Thiago Silva would, because he was the captain and is a defensive player. Maybe he could have made the difference,” she said.
Neymar, who was considered the most important player on the Brazilian team, was injured in the match against Colombia and was forced to sit the rest of the tournament out to recuperate. After that setback, Brazilians were all wondering how the coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, would rearrange the team to face Germany. Fred, the other Brazil striker, was considered as a great disappointment at the tournament.
“The feeling is of a great sadness and frustration of seeing professional players, the best of Brazil, doing nothing on the field. They got lost and did not know how to play,” said Simone Oliveira.
“I got very sad, but it was already expected, as Brazil was winning the matches with much suffering,” said Joana Marcondes.
It was “a shameful day. Brazil could not depend on only one player . . . Defeats are normal in football, but conceding seven—it was the worst in Brazil’s history,” lamented Alexandre Sousa.
“It was very sad. When we conceded the fifth goal, I started crying, as I thought we would not be the champions,” said João Cresostomo, 12, who had hoped to see his country win a World Cup for the first time in his life.