RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The tears started flowing before half time, and by the end of a 7-1 shellacking in the World Cup semifinal, millions across Brazil were in dazed, damp-eyed disbelief.
The national team wasn't just defeated by a powerful German team. It was routed in front of the entire world, humiliated at its own party. Young and old, Brazilians shared in the anguish of what many called a national calamity — the worst loss in their team's storied World Cup history.
A rain of seven goals by the powerful German team devastated the Brazilian soccer faithful across this continent-sized, soccer-mad country that for years has harbored hopes of winning its sixth Cup title right on its own turf.
"I couldn't believe my eyes! It was like the game was on replay," said Valeria Mazure, a 67-year-old retired teacher drinking beer in Rio, and sporting Brazil's colors in a green tunic and yellow scarf. "I'm feeling disappointed, sad, but more than anything I'm feeling embarrassed. It was embarrassing to watch."
So much so, some of the fans who were in the stadium where the massacre played out in excruciating fashion simply exited at halftime, some tearing up there tickets and giving the thumbs down to TV cameras.
"Five to zero is so embarrassing, we're not going to stay any longer," Ribeiro said Franca as he left the stadium in Belo Horizonte at halftime, with Germany on top 5-0. "One to nothing is fine, one-one, two-one, two-two, but five to nothing is shameful for a country that has a tradition of soccer."
While tears flowed freely, the mood for many was shifting to anger, disbelief and a search for comedy relief.
"By the 30th minute of the first half my Facebook feed was absolutely full of jokes poking fun at the team," said Mirel Ribeiro, a 25-year-old fan in Rio. "This was such a slaughter we can't even cry about it."
A widely shared "photo" on Twitter portrayed German President Angela Merkel, arms raised in victory, standing atop the mountain overlooking Rio, replacing the iconic Christ. Other memes were hitting social networks at a fast clip, perhaps as quickly as Germany's first-half goals.
"Watching the Brazil team play in earlier matches, I thought there was a possibility that Brazil could lose — but I never imagined it could lose so terribly," said Ricardo Azevedo, a fan in Rio. "I feel an immense sadness, but not only that, I feel annoyed at the blackout that happened on the pitch. We just blacked out."