Desmond Kane

RIP Brazil: The night football changed forever

Desmond Kane

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Every picture tells a story: A huge scoreboard confirms Brazil's descent into despair.

It should perhaps be recalled years from now as ‘The Massacre of Mineirao’. Without fraternising with hyperbole, it feels like it.

There was something inherently depressing, but strangely symbolic and surreal about seeing Brazil's national side being slain 7-1 by Germany in a World Cup semi-final that was barely worth such a lofty billing. This was not even as a competitive as a testimonial match to remember how great Brazil once were.

[GERMANY TEAR BRAZIL TO PIECES]

It was the world game's equivalent of a disemboweling, with unsuspecting victims in those fabled canary yellow and green shirts left for dead and hapless bodies strewn all over a big old bucket of a ground in Belo Horizonte.

58,000 fans at the ill-fated Estadio Mineiro were party to the crime while millions of others suffered mental scarring away from the murder scene, unable to assist a set of men apparently hellbent on self-harming.

Big Phil Scolari called in a sport psychologist for his players beforehand. More will need counselling now. Particularly those who blurted out the national anthem with such gusto, clung to each other and a Neymar shirt like there was no tomorrow then proceeded to shame the Seleção with a farcical effort.

Brazil is a nation of 200 million people with a feverish appetite for football. They are never likely to understand what hit their heroes during this infamous moment in time.

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The tectonic plates of world football were shifted by Teutonic excellence. The landscape has altered. Things will never be the same again.

It is football's equivalent of the JFK moment. Years from now someone will ask you: where were you the night Brazil were being flogged in their own backyard? Most will say, watching it. And most will tell you where they watched it, and what was happening in their lives when the world's most fabled national side were lowered into the ground.

And there was Big Phil thinking he had a rough old few months running Chelsea a few years back. He ain’t seen nothing yet. This will not only cost Scolari his job.

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President Dilma Rousseff is up for re-election in October, but she is facing being booted out of office over the cost of hosting these finals. An £8 billion party that ends in a grief-stricken wake has widespread consequences.

The World Cup that seems to keep on giving has just given us a tag line to trump the lot of them: Brazil has never lost so heavily. As my colleague Toby Keel put it quite succinctly afterwards: “It is like this, Des. Watching Brazil is no longer like watching Brazil.”

Nobody takes pleasure in Brazil’s pain. After Scotland were sent packing from the World Cup in 1986, 1990 and 1998, my support would naturally turn to Brazil. I was brought up in a household that loved Brazil, and all that their football stood for.

My father, God rest his soul, also revelled in watching England and Germany, but part of his affection for those European countries was down to their classic meetings with Brazil in and around the era of the 1970 finals.

We used to watch videos again and again of Pele and the Brazilian giants who kept the old Jules Rimet trophy after drubbing Italy 4-1 in Mexico. I’m glad my dad didn’t see what had become of his beloved Brazil last night.

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An evening when they were mocked by their own fans with cries of ‘Olé’ as Germany looked like they might declare on seven with 10 minutes left.

“The night Brazil’s beautiful game died,” was how BBC presenter Gary Lineker put it. Sad, but so true. RIP, Brazil.

Despite their obvious excellence, Jogi Loew’s Germany could not have envisaged handing out such a stern beating to a national side who had not lost a competitive match at home since Peru's 3-1 Copa America win in 1975. In blasted Belo Horizonte.

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But this is what happens when you play the shirts, not the history. Germany with three World Cup gongs - and a fourth perhaps beckoning on Sunday - have their own rich heritage to defend. The men in yellow and green were impostors, leaderless and unable to function without the injured Neymar and Thiago Silva.

Like the All Blacks in rugby union or the Australian ‘Baggy Green’ Invincibles of 1948 in cricket, there are expectations that accompany certain badges in sport. The Brazil crest was once a lesson in what excellence should be adhered to. Brazil lives and breathes football like nowhere else in the globe.

The working class game has never lost its working class roots in Brazil. For that, we should all be respectful as a period of national mourning begins.

Watching some of the tears tumbling from the faces of the kids in the crowd made your heart sink. Hearing Santa Claus didn’t exist would not have been as savage for them.

The illusionary, smiling face of Samba football has been shattered into small pieces. Their country will never recapture the aura of yesteryear due to what went on last night. They are suddenly just another football nation, as susceptible to a humping as the rest of the plankton.

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They have five stars over the badge, but no longer possess true stars.

The greatest Brazil team, and perhaps the finest side in the history of sport, collected the World Cup in 1970: Felix, Brito, Piazza, Carlos Alberto, Everaldo, Clodoaldo, Gerson, Jairzinho, Tostao, Pele, Rivelino.

Fast forward 44 years and what you were left with last night was: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Dante, David Luiz, Marcelo, Luiz Gustavo, Fernandinho, Hulk, Oscar, Bernard, Fred.

This motley crew are only world champions in their own living rooms. Perhaps the worst outfit to adorn such an advanced stage of the finals.

After England were ousted from the World Cup quarter-finals by Brazil in 2002, the BBC played 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out' by Oasis to mark the occasion. They could have played the same song in Rio last night, and no-one would have been listening.

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The wailing and gnashing of teeth will go on for a long time in Brazil. Quite simply, Big Phil begging for forgiveness is not good enough. His team have not earned it.

While a nation was sticking by them because it is their people, this group of players buckled like a cheap tracksuit from Garrincha's day. They deserve to be berated not because they lost, but how they lost. There was more spirit during Napoleon's retreat from Moscow.

Brazil have been mediocre at best. They needed a ridiculous referee’s help in a 3-1 win over Croatia on opening night, could easily have lost to Mexico in a 0-0 draw before clubbing a Cameroon side 4-1 who were already out and warring with each other.

They required penalties to see off Chile in the last 16, and were fortunate to outlast Colombia in a brutal South American contest of yesteryear on Friday.

When Scolari's side traipsed off the park having eked out a 2-1 win over Colombia, they should have immediately constructed believable work on how to contain Germany.

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Six of Germany’s starting side represent Bayern Munich. They are a cohesive club side in most aspects, but Brazil had shown their survival instincts by shamelessly kicking Colombia up and down the park.

Who knows? Perhaps they couldn’t stomach spoiling another match to reach the final, but attempting to go toe-to-toe with Germany will be remembered as an act of suicide not seen since The Schlieffen Plan.

What we witnessed was a harebrained, badly thought out ploy to push on full-backs in Marcelo and Maicon who could host a new football show called 'Can't defend, won't defend'. Milk turns quicker than Maicon.

And even when they marauded up the park leaving massive gaps, who did they expect to damage the Germans? Hulk, Fred or Bernard? Hardly Zico and Socrates is it. Pele would have offered more last night than Fred.

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David Luiz can’t stick to plan in central defence. Poor old Dante was plunged into an inferno blazing around him.

Across the divide his Bayern Munich companion Jerome Boateng was left to admire the goals and work ethic of men like Thomas Mueller, Miroslav Klose, Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Andre Schuerrle. And the list goes on. The danger for Germany prior to the final is this was too easy.

It was Brazil’s biggest home game since they lost 2-1 to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final at Rio's Maracana. They have fresher, rawer and deeper wounds 64 years on.

Back then, defeat prompted Brazil to alter their shirts from the haunted white to yellow. They should have gone back to white last night. It would have been easier to signify their mass surrender.

- Desmond Kane

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