Brazil's hurt, but they will rise again
Brazil will recover, as they did after debacles in 1950 and 1982
The Maracana Stadium was quiet yesterday morning as I strolled around football's Coliseum here just hours before Brazil faced Germany in the first semi-final in Belo Horizonte.
There were a sprinkling of tourists out in the hot sun, pockets of excited fans from Argentina, Japan and Mexico posing for pictures with the massive colonnades towering behind them and, inevitably, locals in the national jersey milling about, possibly dreaming of a glorious final as they looked ahead excitedly to the big clash with the European heavyweights.
As the clock wound down to the big kick-off, a chill suddenly descended on the city, the wind whipped up and the sky over Rio turned a nasty, angry grey.
For days, the city had been bathed in sunshine and the dark storm that lashed down at the time Brazil were being humiliated by the Germans must have seemed only fitting for the hosts.
Around this time last year, Luiz Felipe Scolari seemed to have found the winning formula when his men bore down and physically overwhelmed reigning world champions Spain and romped to a 3-0 win in the Confederations Cup final at the magnificent, refurbished Maracana.
Scolari's team were only going to lift a record sixth world crown with the all-out hustle and relentless pace displayed then and, when they failed to find it again at this World Cup, it turned Brazil into an ordinary side.
No-one in the current team would make a Brazil greats list, not even Neymar or Thiago Silva, even if they are world-class footballers.
Yet, Brazil were one match from the final.
Home fervour, luck, individual moments of magic, mostly from Neymar, and Scolari's promptings could only get the hosts so far.
Much will be made of how good Germany were and, without two of their best players, Brazil were heading into a perfect storm, especially when Joachim Loew said after the game that everything worked for his team as they turned in their best performance of the tournament.
The Germans will now work on ensuring they recover from the inevitable hangover after such a high and regain their focus for the final.
Brazilians will mourn the fact their team won't be at the Maracana on Monday morning (Singapore time).
The thousands that had gathered on Copacabana beach to catch the semi-final on the huge screens broke up well before the game ended, as the weather turned ugly and the dream of a sixth world crown ended so spectacularly for the country regarded as the greatest football nation on earth.
Brazil probably won't want to host another World Cup.
Two tragic losses, the most recent one a ruthless football lesson that ensured the nation suffered its worst defeat in history and reduced a whole new generation of fans to tears.
Football is part of the national psyche here.
It is played everywhere. In parks, courts, on the beach, anywhere there is an open space, men, children and teenagers are kicking a football.
It is why Brazil is hurting. It is also why the nation always recovers.
After the heart-wrenching loss to Uruguay in 1950, the country regrouped and won three of the next five editions of the World Cup, featuring some of the greatest players in the history of the game like Didi, Pele, Garrincha, Tostao and Jairzinho.
The fallout after the stunning defeat of the magical team of Zico, Socrates and Falcao in 1982 lasted until Romario and Bebeto's star turn in 1994. Brazil went on to reach the final in 1998 and lifted the trophy once again in 2002 with Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, astutely guided by Scolari.
Brazil's winning teams always feature stars who become members of the world pantheon.
The team of 2014 have none, but Neymar, Oscar and Silva can get there.
And the huge talent pool will inevitably throw up some more.
After the defeat yesterday, there was no-one playing football on Copacabana, the grief was clearly too much too bear.
But then I remembered spotting a young boy in a kickabout with an eager mum and dad on a court beside the Maracana in the morning.
Brazilians will be back playing football again today, Brazil's football will rise again.