Brazil began assessing their own shock following Tuesday night’s astonishing 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-final, coming up only with apologies.
David Luiz, the Brazil captain, immediately apologised to the nation after the rout.
“Apologies to everybody, apologies to all the Brazilian people,” said Luiz, his eyes red from tears.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari echoed the mood of despair.
“We ask for forgiveness,” Scolari said. “To the people, please excuse us for this negative mistake.”
“I just wanted to see my people smile,” Luiz said after the mauling in Belo Horizonte. “We all know how important it was for me to see all of Brazil be happy, at least because of football.
“They were better than us. They prepared better. They played better.
“It’s a very sad day but it’s also a day from which to learn.”
The 7-1 drubbing was equalled in 100 years of Brazil football history only by a 6-0 defeat to Uruguay in 1920.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff added to the gloom.
“Like every Brazilian, I am very, very sad about this defeat. I am immensely sorry for all of us. Fans and our players,” she wrote on Twitter.
Germany star Thomas Muller, who scored his fifth goal of the tournament in the thrashing, conceded he was shocked by the scale of the victory.
“I don’t know what to say to be honest,” Muller said. “I can’t believe it. It’s something totally crazy. It just went well today.
Germany will next face either Argentina or the Netherlands in Sunday’s final at the Maracana.
Germany’s passage to Rio was booked after a first-half blitz which included a burst of four goals in six devastating minutes.
Muller opened the scoring on 11 minutes, punishing poor Brazilian marking at a corner to make it 1-0.
Brazil, badly missing suspended captain Thiago Silva, tried to regroup but there was no respite.
After the fifth goal, well before half time, hundreds of people left their expensive seats.
The boos rang out around the ground as four, five, six, seven goals went past the Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar. When German substitute Andre Schurrle got his second goal and his team’s seventh, the boos turned to cheers for the team who had smashed home hopes.
“That never happens in football,” said Brazil fan Dante Santos, who was in the stadium.
The result was greeted with disbelief by fans across football-crazy Brazil.
Alexa Rosatti, 19, a university student watching the game at a popular Sao Paulo bar district, said she had feared Brazil would lose.
“But I never thought it would be a massacre,” she said.
“I stopped watching for a second and they already had scored a sixth goal.”
In Rio, at a street screening that had attracted 30,000 people, Karina Marques, a 17-year-old footballer, predicted a violent reaction from angry fans.
“It’s a disaster. It will be chaos,” she said. “People will break everything.
“They’re going to be furious. The government spent a lot of money for this World Cup instead of investing in health and education.”
The global reaction reflected equal parts befuddlement and, for Brazilian partisans, devastation.
“It will be difficult to recover. Some players I don’t think will be back to wear the Brazilian shirt. It is wrong now to criticise the players. On the field, Germany taught us how to play football. We have to learn from that,” said the former Brazil midfielder Juninho Paulista.
Rio Ferdinand, the former England defender, echoed those sentiments, saying: “I would worry that the Brazilian players might never recover from this. Some might not be able to come back from this.”
And the former England striker Gary Lineker offered that, “In nigh on half a century of watching football, that’s the most extraordinary, staggering, bewildering game I’ve ever witnessed.”
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