WORLD CUP: Brazil humiliated by Germany at home in 2014
Getting what you wish for doesn’t always work out well.
Brazil had partly wanted to host the 2014 World Cup to exorcise the ghosts of the past — specifically, its traumatic 1-0 loss to Uruguay in the final match of the 1950 tournament at home in Rio de Janeiro.
Watched, it is said, by about 200,000 at the Maracana Stadium, that match left an indelible mark on Brazil’s psyche, so much so that the team changed the color of its shirt from white to the now-famous yellow. It’s been termed The Maracanazo — roughly speaking, the Maracana Blow.
And despite winning five World Cups after that, the shock of losing that match remained as Brazil readied to host the tournament again in 2014.
To be fair, there was a bit of concern in Brazil that its team was not particularly strong, the attacking prowess of Neymar notwithstanding.
Brazil won its group and scored seven goals in its three group matches. But its performances were unconvincing. Still, Brazil hoped that a wave of emotion could help shore up the team as it went further into the tournament.
The home support helped Brazil overcome Chile in a penalty shootout in the round of 16 and in the narrow 2-1 victory over Colombia in the quarterfinals. That set up a semifinal match against Germany.
It was bad timing for the hosts because Germany really came into form. It was bad luck for Brazil, too, that it was without its best player, Neymar, after he had injured his back in the match against Colombia. Brazil was also without its captain, Thiago Silva, who was suspended.
But no one could have predicted exactly what would happen at the encounter in Belo Horizonte.
When Thomas Mueller put Germany ahead in the 11th minute, there wasn’t too much concern — after all, Germany was widely expected to win. But then two, three, four and five — 5-0 down within half an hour. The World Cup’s greatest champions were being humiliated at home.
It ended 7-1, and one ghost had been replaced by another.
At least Brazil didn’t change the color of its shirt this time.
AP World Cup coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/WorldCup