Luiz Felipe Scolari accepted responsibility for Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat to Germany last night, accepting that even as a winner in 2002 he would be remembered for an occasion he called “the worst day of my life”.
The Brazil coach refused to discuss his future although he said that he would continue to lead the side into Saturday’s third-place play-off against the loser of tonight’s semi-final between Argentina and the Netherlands. He described the defeat in Belo Horizonte as “the worst” in the history of the Brazil team.
As for his own career, Scolari said: “I think it's probably the worst moment. I've lost other matches. When you lose 4-0 or 5-0, it's basically the same thing. Naturally, if I were to think of my life as a player, as a coach, as a teacher, this was the worst day of my life. But life goes on. I'll be remembered probably because I lost 7-1, the worst defeat Brazil have ever had, but that was a risk I knew I was running when I accepted this position. Life goes on. That's what I'll do.”
Video: Brazilians react to humiliating loss
Scolari said that there was little he could do as the five goals rained in during the first half, as he was asked by the Brazilian media why he had not reacted. He claimed, a little wildly, that there was not much between the two sides – and that the Germans had told him even they were bemused at the way the game had played out – although he accepted the gravity of the defeat.
Brazil 1 Germany 7 player ratings
Brazil 1 Germany 7 player ratings
1/22 Brazil: Julio Cesar
Having performed so well before, especially in the last 16 against Chile, must have been distraught at the disaster in front of him. Powerless. 4/10
A 32-year-old with that much experience should be taking responsibility, but Maicon never did, simply making the runs he wanted to make. 3
3/22 David Luiz
Instead of showing discipline and leadership, rising to the role of captain, he was abysmal, playing only his own game and abdicating all responsibility. 2
Always unlikely to replace Thiago Silva adequately, and he provided none of the skill, awareness, leadership or discipline his captain does. 3
Conceded the corner for the first goal and never looked especially keen on stopping Germany from adding to their tally. 2
6/22 Luis Gustavo
Asked to provide balance in midfield, he was swamped by Khedira and Kroos, as the spine of this Brazil side melted away in the first half. 3
Utterly outclassed by the German midfield, he could barely get on the ball until scoring his sharp consolation goal. 4
Just as anonymous as he had been for the rest of the tournament and once the damage had been done he was booed and jeered by the fans. 2
Meant to provide energy and presence in midfield but he was dismal, swamped by German numbers and gifting the ball for the fourth. Off at half-time. 2
Did have an opening or two in Brazil’s bright opening but, not for the first time, lacked the skill to take advantage. Did not make the second half. 2
Trusted to fill Neymar’s role, by the time he saw the ball Brazil had already lost. At least he wanted to try things in the second half. 4
12/22 Germany: Manuel Neuer
Did in fact have a few saves to make, early in the second half, and he was impeccable again until Oscar’s late consolation goal. 7/10
Made one excellent tackle on Marcelo when the game was still 0-0. After that it was all attack, crossing well from the right for the third and sixth goals. 8
Called upon once or twice to defend, which he did very well, and spent the rest of the evening admiring the quality of his team’s forward play. 7
His only disappointment, having come off at half-time for Per Mertesacker, is that he could not add to his goal tally for the tournament. 7
Not quite as incisive as Lahm on the opposite side, but was still impressive, never once beaten defensively and providing a useful option out wide. 7
Operating in the oceans of space in front of Brazil’s centre-backs, he played the through pass for the second goal and scored the third and fourth. 10
Can barely have expected such a comfortable evening, winning the ball and moving it forward for his team-mates to do the damage. 8
Showed he is one of the best big-game players in the world, with that brilliant nose for goal to score the first. Wonderful movement from then on. 10
The man whose expert shuttling and well-timed runs destroyed Brazil’s collapsing system. Made the fourth, scored the fifth and could have had more. 10
Had more than enough space in wide areas to enjoy himself, always moving intelligently and involved in creating two of the first-half goals. 8
On the night Germany humiliated Brazil, Klose broke Ronaldo’s World Cup scoring record, beating Julio Cesar for the second goal. 8
He said: “Who is responsible when the team plays? Who is invited as the coach? Who is responsible for picking the team? I am. It's me. So the catastrophic result can be shared by the whole group. My players will tell you we will share our responsibilities. But who decided the tactics, I did. So the person responsible is me.”
He added: “When we got to the first goal, the match was very even. Then they scored and, in the next six or seven minutes, scored four more. There was a lack of control which isn't normal, but can happen. And at 5-0 the players left a lot of room and, against those winning 5-0 and know how to play. We still had some chances, created some opportunities, but we're not daft. We lost a match to a great team. Even they were saying: 'We don't know how this happened' at the end. It was because of their skills.”
Asked whether Brazilian football would have to reinvent itself, he said: “Why? Because we lost one match? Thirteen or 14 of those players out there will be at the 2018 World Cup. They're working, developing still. I think you'll see at least that many there in 2018, so this is a loss. A catastrophic, terrible loss. The worst loss by a Brazilian national team ever, yes. But we have to learn to deal with that.”
He said he would make a decision on his future after Saturday. “I thought we could close down the midfield. It was working until the moment of the first goal. Then we were disorganised. We panicked and things started to happen normally for them, and badly for us. I don't have any regrets with the choices I made. They were choices a coach makes and has to put up with the consequences.
“But it just didn't work out for 10 minutes in the match today. That's it. It didn't work today, for 10 crazy minutes. And the Germany team were fantastic. It won't happen like that ever again, for them or for us. Would it have been different with Neymar? They probably could have done that with Neymar in the side, also. He wouldn't have known how to defend those moves for the second, third, fourth and fifth goals. I don't think it would have been different with Neymar. He's a striker. He would have had a different role to all the other players.
“This was not a typical match. We have to show we can take this defeat, the worst defeat Brazil has ever had, even in friendlies. But it happened. Their lives will go on. My life will go on. Everyone has to try and get what's best for us now. What can we do differently?”