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Brazil fans’ World Cup dreams crushed
RIO DE JANEIRO—The tears started flowing before half time, and by the end of a 7-1 shellacking in the World Cup semifinal, millions across Brazil were in dazed, damp-eyed disbelief. The national team wasn't just defeated by a powerful German team. It was routed in front of the entire world, humiliated at its own party. Young and old, Brazilians shared in the anguish of what many were already calling a national calamity, the worst loss in its team's storied World Cup history.
A rain of seven goals by the powerful Germany team devastated the Brazilian soccer faithful who packed onto the golden sands of Copacabana beach to watch the match. With Brazil's star striker Neymar out injured and captain Thiago Silva suspended for the match, it quickly became clear the Brazilians couldn't handle the Germans. "The problem is psychological," said Brazil fan Fabio Fontes. "It would be normal for the team to lose against Germany, but not in this fashion."
To make matters worse, at the Fan Fest viewing area on Copacabana beach, hundreds of people stampeded out as a gang of young men carried out a mass robbery, running through crowd, inciting panic and snatching necklaces and bags along the way. That, coupled with the crushing game, sent many fans heading home. With Brazil tossed out of its own World Cup in such rough fashion, "you are going to have the most depressed country ever," Pablo Ramoz said.
Brazil spent billions of dollars preparing for the tournament, with expectations that home advantage could deliver Brazil a sixth title, but the high cost also ignited intense anger and protests against the World Cup, with demonstrators lamenting the costs when the nation is saddled with woeful public services. Few thought Germany's stomping of Brazil would spark renewed mass protests — but it is certain to put a severely sour taste back into the mouths of the nation's fans.
In Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, thousands gathered in the Bohemian neighbourhood of Vila Madalena, the streets carpeted with yellow, green and blue—the colours of the Brazilian flag. Fan Samir Kelvin clung to a street pole and loudly cried: "I have nothing left! I am Brazilian and humiliated I want to kill myself!"
Nearby, a woman cried out "What shame, what shame!" as a man nearby was banging his head against a bar table. After Germany scored an early goal samba groups simply stopped drumming in apparent shock. More goals followed and silence overtook bars as fans stared sadly at TV screens. A large group of fans gathered at a 600-unit apartment complex in Rio couldn't believe what they had witnessed.
Jorge Cardoso, an engineer, blamed the loss on the injury that sidelined Neymar and the benching of Silva for accumulating two yellow cards during the tournament. He said simply: "It's like someone you love has died."