at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Rio De Janeiro – Brazil licked physical and mental wounds after its World Cup humiliation by Germany, struggling to make sense of the heaviest defeat in the nation's 100-year footballing history.
The epic 7-1 semi-final thrashing by the rampant Germans stunned the football-mad nation of 200 million and sent shockwaves around the football world.
Brazil's newspapers reflected the seismic impact of the defeat, wailing with anguish at what one daily described as “an embarrassment for eternity.”
Many said Tuesday's loss at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte eclipsed the trauma felt by Brazil when it lost the final to Uruguay at home in 1950.
Globo columnist Fernando Calazans said it was “a much bigger tragedy.”
“Brazilian football has only one solution: to resuscitate. There is no way to go back, recuperate, react. Brazilian football has to be born again. It has to be reborn,” he said.
Other papers vented fury at coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and his playing staff.
“Go To Hell Felipao,” the O Dia daily fumed along with a photo of Scolari holding up seven fingers during the game.
O Globo meanwhile gave every Brazilian player zero marks out of 10 in their assessments of individual performances against Germany, describing the displays as “tragic, insipid, and irrelevant.”
The failure of the host nation to reach the final comes after a year of public anger in Brazil at the $11 billion spent on hosting the tournament.
Violent protests erupted during last year's Confederations Cup and erupted sporadically in the build-up to the tournament.
The sense of disbelief at Tuesday's record defeat rippled across the globe.
“What was that? Hard to believe,” tweeted German great Franz Beckenbauer, who won the trophy as a player in 1974 and then as a coach with West Germany in 1990.
Dutch legend Johan Cruyff also took to Twitter to express admiration for Germany's performance.
“This is why I consider them the best team in the tournament,” he said.
The game and its barely credible unfolding narrative sent Twitter into overdrive, with the social network beating all records of activity for a sporting event.
A total of 35.6 million tweets were sent breaking the previous record set at the Super Bowl in February, which saw nearly 25
million comments unfurl on Twitter, the social network told AFP.
“Brazil has Neymar, Argentina has Messi, Portugal has Ronaldo but Germany has a team,” one widely retweeted comment said.
Germany coach Joachim Loew said the win banished personal memories of 2006, when he was assistant coach as the Germans lost in the semi-finals.
However, Loew warned that the job was not yet done and that the semi-final result would be quickly forgotten in Germany if they returned home trophyless.
“A bit of humility would also be very good and we need to be careful that we stay focused on Sunday,” said the 54-year-old.
“There's no euphoria in the dressing room, we are very happy, but we are not getting carried away.”
Loew and his side will learn who their opponents will be later on Wednesday when another clash of European and South American titans takes place.
Argentina, with four-time world footballer of the year Lionel Messi at last replicating his club form at international level, take on the Netherlands in Sao Paulo.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal is sweating on the fitness of captain Robin van Persie who is a doubt due to a stomach problem.
FIFA confirmed on Wednesday that a moment of silence would be held shortly before kick-off in honor of Real Madrid and Argentina great Alfredo Di Stefano, who died on Monday aged 88. – Sapa-AFP