For Brazilians, dreams of a World Cup championship ended in tears.
It has already been deemed the most painful loss in 100 years of Brazilian soccer. The national team’s 7-1 loss to Germany marks the worst loss a hosting team has ever suffered in the World Cup and the worst that the Brazil national team has ever lost in the World Cup game, period. What’s more, the first five goals were scored in record-setting time – it took Germany only 29 minutes.
For Brazilians, the World Cup, the ‘Cup of Cups,’ may go down in the history books as a $11-billion national tragedy.
This morning, the fireworks and horns began to sound around 10am. All day, the empty streets were filled with people drinking, dancing, cheering. By 4pm, one hour before the game, the Fan Fest in the center of São Paulo had closed, full to the brim with fans – torçidos – in face paint, yellow, green, and blue wigs, and with Brazilian flags falling as capes down their backs.
After the teams were introduced, fans belted the national anthem and prepared for battle.
When Müller scored Germany’s first goal in the 11th minute, the crowd groaned. But Brazil was on its feet, looking fresh. The fans were optimistic, and even without Neymar Jr. on the field, hopes were high.
Just outside of the Fan Fest, at a crowded bar on Anhangabaú, a drunk woman wearing a Brazil wig cheered and danced. “I am Brazilian, I am proud to be Brazilian!” she yelled. Patrons eyed her, laughed, but kept their gaze on the game.
When the second goal came in the 23rd minute, nerves started to wear thin. One man took off his hat, stood up, and walked out of the bar shaking his head. The crowd went silent. The fans hardly had time to recover from the second goal before Kroos netted Germany’s third.
It already seemed like a bad joke. The horns were silent, and fans looked on in disbelief as the fourth and fifth goals floated past Júlio César, the beloved Brazilian goalie who seemed invincible only days before.
“There are going to be riots in São Paulo,” said Rafael, a fan watching the game from an Anhangabaú bar, looking defeated. “It is going to be chaos if Brazil can’t come out of this … and 5 – 0, I don’t see how they will.”
By the second half, many fans had already gone home. A historic loss like this, on their own soil, was too much to stomach. And with 45 minutes left to play, it was likely that things were going to get worse before it was all over.
When the sixth and seventh goals were scored, fans actually started clapping and cheering in a mixture of desperation and disbelief. “Dillma!” a man on the patio yelled. “Vote for Dilma!” The manager at the bar started up the music and Brazilians, with no other road forward, stood up and began to dance. Across Anhangabaú, the bars struck up their music while the Brazilian national team wearily ran across the screen behind them. When Oscar scored Brazil’s only goal at the 90th minute, fans cheered as they danced.
“At least its not zero!” they yelled.
When the game ended, hardly anyone could watch. There was no energy for riots. Some Brazilians danced, a group of Argentinians gathered in the plaza corner to sing. David Luiz, the vice-captain who had been fundamental in Brazil’s victory over Colombia, wept in his post-game interview. “We just wanted to give you great joy,” he said. “We apologize to the Brazilian people worldwide and to Brazil.”
Fans slowly moved towards the subway station. Their face paint had lost luster and their wigs and hats lacked spark. As the wait staff cleaned up the table, Brazilians with large sacks came through to collect beer cans and snatch up extra food.
“The Workers Party is out, Dilma has got to be out” said Docineia, a middle-aged Brazilian woman shaking her head in disbelief. “Sometimes God gives a little help.”
This is the long version of a short post I wrote for VICE News.