July 8th, 2014
Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
A crowd of 60,000 rapturous fans in yellow and green was ready for a party. On a perfect 72 degree night, the Himno Nacional Brasileiro was ringing around Mineirão as the players began to soak in the moment. The Brazilian National Team had just made the Semi-Finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on home soil and are one game away from a final against rival Argentina in the Estádio Maracana in Rio.
In their way was Germany, who had entered their fourth straight World Cup Semi-Final with an undefeated record and were the second rank team in the world, one place ahead of Brazil. Victory would bring jubilation to a nation that hadn't seen a world final cup final since 2002. Defeat would mean national humiliation and failure. It was World Cup or bust for Brazil.
The opening 10 minutes of the match were live and well, with both sides attacking the opposing team's goal with precision. The party was put on hold when German Midfielder Thomas Müller opened the scoring in the 11th minute when he broke free from a defender on the first corner kick for Germany.
It wasn't long until Germany found their second goal, a 23rd-minute strike scored by Miroslav Klose, who became the all-time leading World Cup goal-scorer with 16 total goals. Fans began to worry and the stadium became suddenly quiet. Then things went from bad to worse.
Germany began tearing Brazil apart, scoring three goals in the next six minutes, and before the half hour mark, the score was 5-0. It was the most shocking five minutes of any World Cup anyone has ever seen.
Watching the on-field massacre on live television didn't compare to what the fans and players in the stadium were seeing. Fans were crying, fights broke out in the crowd and outside of the stadium (with luckily no civilian casualties), and the Brazilian players were living a nightmare. The Germans kept cool and calm, did not celebrate often, and would win the game 7-1, the largest deficit ever in a World Cup Semifinal.
It is considered by many to be one of the most shocking results ever in a World Cup. This game was dubbed the "Mineirazo" or "Mineirão Blow." Many argued that the result was even worse than the "Maracañazo" when Brazil lost the 1950 World Cup Final on home soil to Uruguay. Many pundits considered the game a "National Tragedy."
Brazilian Manager Felipe Scolari believed the game was "the worst day of [his] life" and later resigned from his position. German Midfielder Toni Kroos thought that Brazil "[was] not at their best" but believed that Brazil will "get back on the right track" sooner than later.
After the World Cup, the future of Brazilian Football was uncertain. Old faces were retiring and former national team manager Dunga had returned to the team for a second stint. The Copa America was around the corner and Brazil needed to heal some wounds.
With Neymar healthy and the additions of Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus to the squad, Brazil rattled off eight straight wins, including the group stage matches during the 2015 Copa America. Unfortunately, celebration was again short lived with a quarter-final loss against Peru. Again, Brazil's future is still in question. But one shimmer of light was seen at the end of the tunnel.
Brazil was hosting the 2016 Olympics and a chance at Olympic soccer gold would help qualm the wounds endured. With the help of Neymar and Gabriel and a hungry u23 Brazilian team, they were able to make the gold medal game.
In their way was once again was Germany, and Brazil had a little chip on their shoulder. The game was tied 1-1 before penalty kicks, in which Neymar converted the winning penalty to send Rio into a frenzy. It was the first Olympic gold medal for the Brazilian Football Association and brought a sigh of relief to a national team who needed to win more than any other nation.
Currently, Brazil has made their way back to a world number one ranking, winning 10 out of the last 11 games and leading their group in World Cup QualIfying in CONMEBOL (South America). Wins over Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, and Colombia have given them enough credentials to earn that elusive number one rank.
The future of Brazilian Football seems bright for the World Cup in Russia next summer, but Brazil must not go backward. Their fans and nation are counting on them to deliver them a World Cup. It is the only way "Mineirazo" can be forgiven.