BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil—The World Cup host felt a potent mix of grief and anger after Germany knocked out Brazils soccer team in a lopsided victory, humiliating a country whose identity is wrapped up in soccer and whose citizens have longed to win the tournament at home.
The outcome left many Brazilians crying in disbelief, and social media buzzing with expressions of surprise, disappointment and outrage. “Historic humiliation” screamed the headline on the newspaper Folha de S. Paulos website.
Reflecting the high national expectations that had surrounded the tournament, President Dilma Rousseff, who is seeking re-election in October, expressed remorse for the 7-1 loss via her official Twitter feed.
“I feel immensely for all of us. Supporters and for our soccer players,” she wrote. “As all Brazilians, I am very, very sad with the defeat.”
The succession of German goals sparked scenes of frustration and woe inside this citys Mineirão stadium and across this soccer-obsessed nation.
As the game began to wind down, some Brazilian fans acted out on their anger and disappointment. Police used horses and tear gas to break up a riot at an outdoor viewing venue in the northeastern city of Recife during Tuesdays match, said local news reports.
“Brazil didnt expect this; we were apprehensive, but we continued to believe in victory. What I am experiencing now is total disillusionment,” said Wando Cardim, a 25-year-old lawyer watching the game live in the stadium.
Manuela Scaff, a 21-year-old cosmetics saleswoman, who was watching the match at a crowded São Paulo bar, was quiet as she watched Germany score the first two goals. But by the third, she was livid. “Another one?! Another?!” she screamed at the television screen. After the fifth goal, she gathered her things and stood up in disgust.
The anguished scenes marked a dramatic reversal of Brazils mood in 2007 when the country clinched the right to host the World Cup. Then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva characterized the tournament as a chance to expunge the memory of Brazils upset 2-1 loss to Uruguay when it hosted the tournament in 1950—a traumatic defeat that has been seared into the nations memory.
That defeat is known as the “Maracanaço” after its location at the Maracana stadium. Tuesdays game instantly became a historical sequel, with Brazilian news organizations dubbing the loss in Mineirão stadium as the “Mineiraço.”
Most Brazilians, however, took the defeat in stride, and most parts of the country remained calm after the game. For many here, the euphoria had turned sour last year.
In June 2013, around a million Brazilians took to the streets to protest the countrys low-quality public services. Gradually those protests widened and became more directed toward the $11.5 billion price tag to host the World Cup, which many called excessive.
The protests turned violent in many cases and had diminished but not ended by the time the World Cup began in June.
On Tuesday evening, police were on alert in multiple cities. But even without a return to large-scale rioting, the squads humiliating defeat was likely to feed a new round of questions for the government about the cup, as it will now be viewed as a costly disaster by millions of fans who expected a victory, or at least an honorable exit.
With presidential elections a few months away, the historic defeat stands to resonate politically as well. It could feed perceptions that Brazil overspent on new stadiums while failing to deliver on the promise that the event would leave a lasting legacy of trains, airports and other infrastructure projects. Few of these were finished on time, and several may never be completed.
“This defeat will have an impact on our politics,” said Ricardo Guedes, director of the polling institute Sensus in Belo Horizonte. “In Brazil, soccer is more than a sport. It is a value.”
Some of the countrys worst fears about the quality of the work were realized last week in Belo Horizonte when an unfinished highway overpass that was meant to be completed by the start of the World Cup collapsed and killed two people.
In a sign of how charged the cup had already become, Ms. Rousseff was subjected to obscene chants during Brazils opening match against Croatia on June 12 in São Paulo. These same obscenities were heard during Tuesdays game against her and the players. By the games end, many Brazilian fans were applauding the Germans.
“Its disgusting, a mess,” said Alexandre Micheliq, a 34-year-old Belo Horizonte businessmen at the game.
Such sentiments of anger and deflation were repeated across the country.
“The result of this game will leave a mark on a generation,” said Carlos Melo, a professor at Insper, a Brazilian education and research center. “The Maracanaço will continue to haunt us.”
However, Mr. Melo said he believed that the fallout of the loss would be remembered as a sporting tragedy, and not have repercussions in other parts of Brazilian life.
Fernando Ferreira, president of Pluri, a soccer consulting firm, said that Tuesdays debacle was the consequence of a slipshod national sporting culture, “horrible management of our soccer teams, with broken teams and supporters not going to the stadiums.”
“I knew one day we would pay the bill for not taking good care of our soccer, but I never imagined the bill was going to be so high,” he said.
— Luciana Magalhães, Loretta Chao and Rogerio Jelmayer contributed to this article.
Fonte: The Wall Street Journal – 09/07/2014