Brazil vs Netherlands World Cup 2014: Arrogant Brazilian team may never be forgiven by the fans

The ghosts of 1950 have been exercised... but replaced by this current team

Rio de Janeiro

They started out with the hope of exorcising the ghosts of the Maracanazo but in the end they never even got to set foot on the stadium’s soil.

LIVE: Brazil vs Netherlands World Cup third-place play-off latest

But as Brazil hobble towards a pointless third-and-fourth-place game in their capital tonight, it’s not even the barbed memories of Tuesday’s 7-1 semi-final pummelling by Germany that scraped and carved at the national consciousness that are hurting most. Instead, there’s a countrywide feeling that people have been abandoned and humiliated by their team’s remarkable antics.

Anecdotal but representative of the mood of the place, a taxi driver says he hopes Brazil are “destroyed by the Netherlands because they are disgusting”. And he isn’t talking about their style of play or the end result of their darkest night. Their cynicism was excusable by their limitations and their physical play was excusable by their need to survive and advance.

On Wednesday morning here, the reaction was as ferocious as it was predictable. The locals walked like zombies past the news-stands and the front-page headlines hit you almost as hard as the barrage of German goals in the first half.

“Congratulations to the runners-up of 1950,” a reference to the Maracanazo, when Brazil lost to arch-rivals Uruguay in the World Cup final at the Maracana. “Yesterday we found out what shame really is.”

“There will be no cover. While you read that, Germany just scored again.”

“Go to hell, Felipão.”

“Shame. Disgrace. Humiliation... This team made history.”

But while the media have combed over the team’s technical and tactical faults, as if there is any point, it has been the infantile attitude and grotesque behaviour of the squad that are far more troubling for most people.

When considering the fallout from all this, you need to realise the place the Selecao hold in the hearts and minds of Brazil and how a unique bond has been destroyed. It can often be too easy to lump a stereotype on the locals when it comes to football but where else do grown men comb the streets long into the night, setting off fireworks to mark a result, and where else would the major national newspaper run a piece about the effect the German game would have on the children of the nation?

But for those beyond the elite classes in an impoverished country, their football team is how they try and project themselves positively on to the world. Unlike any other place, until this week there was a vital link between super-wealthy players and the lower classes that adored and cherished them. A Brazilian fan shows his dejection after the FIFA World Cup 2014 semi final match between Brazil and Germany at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil A Brazilian fan shows his dejection

When the side have arrived in each and every city, the favelas have spilt out on to the motorways in the hope of catching a glimpse of the players, even though these are the same people that have been priced out of games. Many less well-off Brazilians are embarrassed by their circumstance, surroundings and corrupt politicians, but never by their football team. That is until now and that is from where the pain emanates.

If the side were torn apart by the self-made emotion that they used to try to hold themselves together throughout the tournament, then it was synonymous with how the side also tried to elevate themselves above those they claim to represent.

For instance, in the build-up to the semi-final, there wasn’t a single mention of the names of Charlys Frederico Nascimento and Hanna Cristina Santos. Both were 25 years of age and were crushed to death when a bridge collapsed on to a bus near Belo Horizonte’s Mineirão less than a week before the stadium hosted the Germany match. But to say it is a tragedy already forgotten would be to assume, wrongly, that it was acknowledged in the first place.

Instead, against the backdrop of a fatal accident many believe was because of construction projects being rushed so they were finished for the tournament, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Thiago Silva talked at press conferences about the soul of Neymar being with them and how any performance and result would be in his memory.

It was part of a process whereby they tried to raise themselves to the status of gods but in reality they only alienated themselves. Indeed, in defeat and in tears, David Luiz said after their elimination that he was sorry he couldn’t make his people happy. It was the sort of quote that wouldn’t have seemed out of place coming from Jesus and it was another example of the pompous, arrogant nature of the team that existed in a bubble and left you feeling sorry for ordinary Brazilian people.

Where before they were made to pay an extraordinary physical price by their government to bring the World Cup here, now they’ve had to pay an extraordinary mental price because of how their team acted in front of the eyes of the globe.

In the aftermath of the 7-1 loss, small pockets of violence pockmarked the landscape. Tear gas was fired in Belo Horizonte, bars were trashed across the north-east, riot police were called to break up scuffles in Sao Paulo’s bohemian Vila Madalena while, elsewhere in the city, buses were set alight. But as time has passed there is simply a sense of disillusionment and disbelief at what has happened. Now that it’s nearly over, this ghost will haunt the nation for far longer than even the Maracanazo and may never be exorcised.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment