Ex-Lions captain Nazri Nasir: I know Brazil's pain
That pain is something I know. That shame was something I had to deal with.
Former Singapore captain Nazri Nasir knows just what the storm of bitter emotions tossing around in Brazilian David Luiz's heart right now is like. The Selecao were demolished 7-1 by Germany on Wednesday morning.
Pictures of a blubbering Luiz, captain for the night in place of the suspended Thiago Silva, were splashed across numerous front pages of newspapers all over the world the day after the Estadio Mineirao massacre.
Nazri said: "I can imagine how he's feeling."
The 43-year-old cast his mind back 12 years to when he was the captain of the Lions team that were thrashed 4-0 by arch-rivals Malaysia in the Tiger Cup (later re-named the Suzuki Cup) at the hallowed old National Stadium.
The wounds of that defeat may have healed and Nazri has had happier days, most notably lifting the Republic's first piece of international silverware, the 1998 Tiger Cup.
But the painful memories of that thrashing still linger.
He said: "That Malaysia game was the lowest point of my career and football life," he said.
"To lose 4-0 to our arch-rivals in front of our own fans, there are no words to describe the feeling.
"Everything went wrong for us, and every shot they took went in.
"Brazil suffered the same thing yesterday."
Former national winger Md Noor Ali, who said that the impact of Brazil losing in such a manner on home soil was more jarring than the scoreline itself.
"...the Malaysia game took a lot of time to recover from," said the 39-year-old.
"I remember the only thing we wanted after the game was another chance to meet Malaysia and prove ourselves.
"I'm sure the Brazilian players are feeling the same way now, and can't wait for the next time they play Germany."
Former national goalkeeper Lionel Lewis, like Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar yesterday, shipped seven goals when Singapore were thumped 7-3 by Uzbekistan at the old National Stadium in 2008.
Pointing to the six-minute spell in the first half where Germany scored four times, Lewis said: "Sometimes, in games where there is tremendous pressure on the players, you concede one early goal and the players' heads go down.
"Once that happens, even to just three or four players at first, you're finished."
The three ex-Lions warned that the Brazilian players' humiliation has not ended.
Even after being condemned by their countrymen and castigated in the media, the Selecao will have to live with the ignominy.
"For a long time after that match, people would come up to me and ask: What happened against Malaysia?" recalled Nazri.
"Thankfully, there wasn't a case of a fan saying bad remarks to me, but the feeling (of shame) is there... How do you face the fans when you've lost like that?
"You find yourself avoiding crowds."
Added Noor: "You feel ashamed. You get stares, people ask you how you lost by so much, and to be honest, it's just something you can't answer.
"In fact, right after the game when we went back to the hotel, the staff there asked us exactly that. All we could say was 'sorry'.
"People didn't stop talking about the Malaysia defeat until we won a Suzuki Cup (in 2006). Similarly, people won't stop talking about the 7-1 until Brazil achieve something so great that it allows them to put the result behind them."
These are some of the biggest World Cup upsets
- US 1 England 0 (1950)
England arrived at their first World Cup Finals having lost just four times in 30 matches.
Faced with a team of part-timers, England selectors rested star player Stanley Matthews (above). It proved to be a fatal error. Haiti-born Joe Gaetjens, who earned his keep as a dishwasher in a restaurant, secured the Americans a 1-0 win.
- Uruguay 2 Brazil 1 (1950)
The game came to be known as the "Maracanazo". Hosts Brazil were drawing 1-1 and under the old format (four teams played in a group stage-stye final) were just 10 minutes from winning their first World Cup in the Maracana. Then Uruguay made it 2-1.
- North Korea 1 Italy 0 (1966)
Pak Do Ik entered World Cup folklore by striking the only goal of the game to secure a remarkable 1-0 victory over Italy in the unglamorous setting of Middlesbrough in England. North Korea went on to lose 5-3 to Portugal in the quarter-finals.
- Algeria 2 West Germany 1 (1982)
The North Africans, appearing in their first World Cup Finals, were given little chance against the reigning European champions in the clash in Spain. The German players' over confidence came back to haunt them as Algeria prevailed 2-1.
- Cameroon 1 Argentina 0 (1990)
Argentina, as defending champions, opened the 1990 tournament in Italy against a Cameroon side with few recognised stars. However, Francois Omam-Biyik's headed goal gave them an astonishing 1-0 win.