Neil Humphreys: Brazil looking to build, not for revenge
Coach Tite acknowledges the significance of tomorrow's game against Germany, but the only results that matter are at the World Cup
Sami Khedira's goal was the cue for the young Brazilian woman to start crying. It wasn't so much the defeat, but the impending humiliation.
The score-line defied belief. Germany 5 Brazil 1.
Only 29 minutes had gone. Five goals conceded on home soil, as World Cup hosts, within half an hour.
The woman also wept for personal reasons. She was a World Cup volunteer at the Maracana Stadium, where we watched the 2014 semi-final together in the media centre, hundreds of us, in a symbolic gesture.
The Maracana, the soul of the Selecao, was the perfect place to witness the Samba sons shine in the semi-final over in Belo Horizonte.
But a celebration turned into a wake. By the final whistle, the surreal scoreline read 7-1. Joachim Loew's automatons went on to lift the trophy, while the Brazilians waited for their revenge.
Four years on, some think that time is now. But it isn't.
The two sides meet in a friendly tomorrow morning (Singapore time) and the Brazilian tabloids are stirring nationalistic fervour.
They talk of revenge, but talk is cheap and Tite isn't buying it.
Brazil's national coach acknowledges the historical significance of the game, but the result barely matters.
A Brazilian victory would be inadequate compensation for the most dispiriting defeat in Selecao history and those pretending otherwise hint at a persistent problem in their national game.
To claim that a Brazil win makes amends for Germany's previous thrashing suggests the 2014 semi-final was some sort of blip, nothing that a productive evening in Berlin can't fix.
But Tite doesn't subscribe to such parochial, woolly thinking. For the seasoned coach, the blowout in Belo Horizonte wasn't a freakish anomaly, but the inevitable result of a country mired in its own complacency.
Home advantage, vibrant support and the irrepressible form of Neymar, until his injury, masked Brazil's shortcomings in 2014.
Indeed, it's interesting to note the vastly different responses of two defeated nations.
When Brazil defeated an average, ageing Germany in the 2002 World Cup Final, Die Mannschaft embarked upon a scouting and coaching revolution that culminated with their triumph four years ago.
But when the Brazilians lost to Germany in 2014, there was a sense that a quick course correction under Dunga would soon knock the Samba back into shape.
But Brazil's woeful performances at the Copa America saw the end of Dunga and the start of a period of brutal self-analysis under Tite.
It's certainly worth remembering how outclassed the Brazilians were against Germany, not so much a case of men against boys, but men against journeymen.
Fred led the line in Belo Horizonte, a then exasperating 30-year-old whose limbs conspired against him to make him move like a much older man.
In the 3-0 win against Russia last weekend, the exuberant Gabriel Jesus started up front. When the World Cup kicks off, he'll be an experienced English Premier League winner with Manchester City and still only 21.
Roberto Firmino replaced Jesus in the second half, a game where Man of the Match Philippe Coutinho and the resurgent Paulinho both scored.
Of those four, only Paulinho was around at the last World Cup.
In fact, Dani Alves, Marcelo, Fernandinho and Willian are the only other Brazilians left from the German debacle.
Tite has quietly transformed the line-up.
Toni Kroos wasn't being diplomatic when he insisted earlier this week that Brazil are now "two grades higher" than the Selecao skittles blown away in the 7-1 hammering.
Germany's understated maestro championed the commanding attributes of his Real Madrid teammate, Casemiro, and rightly so.
With little fanfare, the 26-year-old has morphed into a beast at the Bernabeu.
The Brazilians are a hardier bunch than the shimmery snowflakes of four years ago. The elegance remains, but it comes with a flinty edge.
So Tite has paid lip service to the "emotional" pull of a rare encounter between Germany and Brazil - they've met only three times in World Cups - but he won't be drawn into a facile discussion about vengeance.
He's interested in solidifying his line-up and extending Coutinho's influence so the Barcelona conductor can coax a tune from Willian, Paulinho, Douglas Costa, Jesus and Firmino.
He's not interested in destroying the ghosts of World Cups pasts.
The friendly offers a useful building block, but it's not an exorcism.
True revenge can come only in Russia.