Brazil's blackest day as Germany thrash Selecao 7-1
Darkest day in Brazilian football as hosts crash to worst-ever defeat
(Thomas Mueller 11, Miroslav Klose 23, Toni Kroos 24, 26, Sami Khedira 29, Andre Schuerrle 69, 79)
Brazil will never get over this. Time will not alleviate the pain. Flesh wounds heal, but this cuts to their spiritual core.
Brazil is a broken nation this morning (Singapore time). Tears flowed from the Amazon in the north to the river that surrounds the Belo Horizonte Stadium in the south; a venue now forever stained in ignominy.
The city's name means beautiful horizon, but it's just witnessed Apocalypse Now.
The attractive Estadio Mineirao now stands as a permanent, unwanted physical reminder of the worst night in the nation's football history.
Luiz Felipe Scolari's men hinted at history and they delivered in horrific fashion. This was their biggest defeat in their 100-year history.
No one alive will be allowed to forget it. An orgy of self-hatred awaits both the Selecao and the society at large. Two hundred million Brazilians will be haunted by a recurring nightmare for the rest of their days.
Germany's humiliating 7-1 drubbing marked the day football died in Brazil. They will resuscitate their sporting passion eventually, but the game flat-lined this morning.
The short-term socio-economic repercussions do not bear thinking about.
Anyone who suggests that such sentiments are melodramatic are obviously not here.
When the fifth German goal went in inside half an hour, Fifa's Brazilian volunteers around me in Rio de Janeiro fought back tears.
Inside the Estadio Mineirao, children sobbed uncontrollably, women buried their tear-stained faces in their partners' damp chests.
A middle-aged, straggly-haired man clutched a homemade World Cup and wept openly; perhaps the most poignant moment of the tournament.
Brazil were battered in their backyard, humiliated in a tournament so expensive to host, it still threatens to break the country's back.
This tournament was supposed to offer resurrection, to exorcise those stubborn demons from 1950.
The Maracanazo was a debilitating blow so severe, the Selecao sought to remove the physical stain of their shame by never wearing the white jersey again. They turned yellow, determined to prove they were anything but.
But this defeat hits even harder.
In 1950, Brazil faced great sporting expectations. But this World Cup promised football and socio-economic rehabilitation. Now the tournament will achieve neither. When Fifa leaves next week, the favelas will remain.
Brazilians spent US$14 billion ($17.5b) to be shamed before a billion viewers, committing Selecao suicide at the home of jogo bonito.
They showcased their country and promised a return of the Beautiful Game, but were left with the ugliest of memories.
A tragedy beyond Shakespeare's meanest quill, the Belo Horizonte stage offered a macabre spectacle that swiftly descended into the grotesque.
Idealistically, unexpectedly, naively, Scolari abandoned all of his pragmatic principles in a desperate bid to overcompensate for Neymar's absence and threw his clueless, wretched players to the German wolves.
He failed to reinforce central midfield, forgot to rein in David Luiz and sent a local boy to do Superman's job on the left wing. Bernard was sent in to replace Neymar and promptly disappeared.
The Selecao defended like schoolboys. When they were expected to deliver, they played dead. Scolari served up lambs to the slaughter.
The Germans practically left the field with blood running down their chins, stepping over the rotting carcasses left on the Estadio Mineirao turf.
Only minnows are hammered 7-1. That's the traditional narrative. In world football, Moldova and San Marino's long-standing role has always been to roll over for their brutal, belligerent masters of their profession by such scorelines.
Until this morning, the Brazilians considered themselves masters. They walked among kings, but never lost the common touch.
Today, they can do neither. They are not emperors. There were no new clothes. There were just empty shells in Selecao shirts.
They lost the game in disgrace and, more damningly, lost their own people.
In the final minutes of the destructive farce, Brazilian supporters did the unthinkable. They cheered every German pass, acknowledging the familiar strides of a country stepping towards greatness. They remembered football like this once. They had Pele, Zico, Romario and Ronaldo. Once they were kings. Now they are paupers.
They even jeered Oscar's late goal. They committed blasphemy inside Belo Horizonte. Brazilians booed Brazilians.
How far they will go in the coming days to register their disgust remains to be seen. Tears subside quickly, but the protests appear permanent.
For the first time in this World Cup, Brazilians took to the streets to express their disappointment this morning. Shame has swept across a suffering nation.
The dream is over, but the nightmare is only just beginning.
WHAT BRAZIL FANS SAY
I never thought it would be a massacre. I stopped watching for a second and they already had scored a sixth goal.
— Alexa Rosatti, 19-year-old university student
It will be chaos. People will break everything. The government spent a lot of money on this World Cup instead of investing in health and education.
— Karina Marques, 17-year-old footballer