• Players admit they ‘failed our people’ in humiliation
• Fred, Hulk and Willian among those to apologise
Brazil’s crestfallen players have admitted they will be scarred for life by the record defeat to Germany, with the humiliation having left the squad perplexed and pained as they somehow attempt to rouse themselves for Saturday’s third-place play-off in Brasília.
The 7-1 rout by the Germans in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday was the worst ever suffered by Brazil, and a first competitive home defeat in 39 years, as their hopes of avenging their defeat to Uruguay in the final back in 1950 were emphatically dashed. The crowd in the Estádio Mineirão turned on their own team as the visitors’ goals rained in, the locals pausing only to applaud André Schürrle’s seventh, with many of the players departing the turf in tears.
“It is a scar which will remain with us for the rest of our lives,” said the striker, Fred, whose every touch had been subjected to a barrage of abuse as the contest veered away from Brazil after a poor personal tournament. “The booing did not hurt me, but the result certainly did.” The Zenit St Petersburg forward, Hulk, claimed the team had suffered “a black out” during the frenzied 18 minute spell in the first half when the Germans scored five times. “It’s a day to forget,” he added, “but we have to raise our heads.”
Barcelona’s Daniel Alves, who was an unused substitute in the semi-final, claimed the team had “failed our people” although he suggested one match should not stain the careers of those who had participated. “It was an inexplicable day for all of us,” offered Willian. “It’s one of those crazy stories of football. Everything went right for Germany and wrong for us. Our goal was to make it to the final and go for the title. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do it. But every player here has quality, all 11 that Felipão [manager Luiz Felipe Scolari] put out there have quality. Nothing went our way, but now we have to raise our heads because life goes on.”
“It was unbelievable, and incredible things happened which we will be unable to explain for the rest of our lives,” said Manchester City’s Fernandinho, a member of the two-man midfield that had been so horribly outnumbered and overrun during that madcap first period. “We will never be able to find the words to explain this situation. I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life. I’m not sure how long it will take for me to get over this. This pain is big, very big. All we can say is sorry to the people they wanted a good result, a win, the title, but we lost in the semi-final and all we can do is say sorry for that.
“The most important thing now is the psychological recovery to recover for Saturday, to play to finish the World Cup in the best way we can. We have some days to take some rest and think just about the next game. The best way for us now is to try to finish in third position. That is all we can do.”