Soccer

The Day Samba Died

Diabolical. Shocking. Dire. Schoolboy. Terrible. Unbelievable. Abysmal. Comical. Awful. Poor. Suicidal. The Lucky Seven. 7-Up. Utterly gob smacked. Capitulated. Lost the plot. Whichever adjective or phrase you decide to use to describe today’s performance by Brazil, all of them would be accurate.

Going into the day, I was nervous. I usually don’t wake up with nervousness before any huge game. I’m normally excited and looking forward to the momentous occasion that is football. The pageantry, the pomp and circumstance, the anthems, the colors, the choruses sung by the fans. This day was different. No songs by the great Sergio Mendes were played in the morning. My palms were sweating and I had to apply baby powder to keep them dry. No samba was played in my local pub. It was an eerie feeling. This felt weird.

Alessandra Ambrosio watch the Brazil vs Germany World Cup match at Miss Lily's on July 8, 2014 in New York City.

Alessandra Ambrosio watches the Brazil vs Germany World Cup match at Miss Lily’s on July 8, 2014 in New York City.

I take my place in the pub after fighting Atlanta’s rush hour traffic and I see Müller, Khedira, Klose, Kroos, Schürrle all having a walkabout. 5 goals were scored in nineteen minutes. Every fan of Seleção Brasileira watched in absolute horror. This didn’t compare to this year’s Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos because that game was played at a neutral site. This was the host nation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup being taken to the woodshed by Germany! Suddenly the cosmopolitan and mojito drinking crowd was silenced. The dancing stopped. The singing was muted. The faces grew longer. The moods did a complete U-turn from joy to anger or sadness. Whilst tweeting, my mind conjured up a cruel nursery rhyme: “one goal, two goals, three goals, four. Five goals, six goals, how many more?” Brazil lost 7-1.

A fan watches Brazil capitulate during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between Brazil and Germany at Estadio Mineirao on July 8, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

A fan watches Brazil capitulate during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between Brazil and Germany at Estadio Mineirao on July 8, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

The defending by Brazil was DIABOLICAL. David Luiz was absolutely frightening tonight. He captained the team in place of the suspended Thiago Silva and was supposed to play in central defense. Why did he venture to central midfield, on the left wing, on the right wing and sometimes at center-forward? He was everywhere except where he was supposed to be! You cannot be a captain at this level of football and fail to understand the reasons why you don’t panic after giving up a goal in less than 15 minutes. Luiz was downright shocking.

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Collectively, Brazil’s back line was terrible. Marcelo kept bombing forward but Germany exploited the spaces he vacated! Dante was spun like a turnstile countless times almost always due to the fact David Luiz was out of position. Maicon was decent, you couldn’t really tell because the other three defenders were abysmal.

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Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was also to blame. Complacency, loyalty and lack of tactical awareness did him in. He was complacent because since Brazil was the host nation, he didn’t actively and aggressively assess the young talent Brazil has coming through. Players like Joao Coutinho, Lucas Moura, Sandro, Felipe Luis were left off. Some have said Robinho and Ronaldinho could’ve made a difference. Those pundits were speculative at best.

“It’s the worst moment of my football career and the worst day of my football life,” Scolari said. “Who is responsible for this result? I am, it’s me. The blame for this catastrophic result can be shared between us all, but the person who decided the line-up, the tactics was me. It was my choice.”

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Scolari continues: “We couldn’t react to going behind. We got disorganized and panicked after the first goal and then it all went wrong for us. Not even the Germans can tell you how this happened – but it’s because of their skills and you have to respect that. We have to learn to deal with it. My message for the Brazilian people is this. Please excuse us for this performance. I’m sorry that we weren’t able to get to the final – and we’re going to try to win the third place match. We still have something to play for.”

Some of these players will never recover emotionally. They heaped tons and tons of pressure on themselves because they represented the host nation. They wanted badly to represent and win the World Cup for the host nation. After going one-nil down, and scoring 4 goals in six minutes, Brazil absolutely imploded and Scolari and Luiz was all to blame. Everyone was dazed and confused. To Germany’s credit, they took the chances and converted them, as they should. This match is less about them and more about the Samba Kings getting eviscerated in their home country. This is Brazil’s first loss at home in 39 years.

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