Brazil Took The Autobahn Highway To Hell

"If we lose, then we all go to hell," President of the Brazilian Football Federation, José Maria Marin, dramatically opined in March as if he were a fire and brimstone preacher on the megachurch pulpit.

Well maybe he is. After all, football is a denomination that unites all secularists or disciples alike and has more followers than any other organized religion. As hundreds of thousands of parishioners descended on Brazil for a World Cup pilgrimage, clergyman Marin might as well have strapped Christ the Redeemer onto Brazil’s 23-man roster’s back, dropped them off in Amazonia and advised them not to show their faces until they’d returned with a sugar cookie, a photo of a midget holding balloons, breast milk from a Cambodian immigrant and a World Cup trophy.

On Tuesday, Brazil lost their way on the righteous World Cup path. As a result, 23 angels lost their wings and manager Luis Felipe Scolari, who once walked on Cloud-9 as manager of the 2002 Brazilian World Cup champions, plummeted from football firmament into the Earth’s depths to begin what we can only imagine is four years of torturous, soccer damnation.

Before Tuesday evening, Ronda Rousey’s resounding pummeling of Brazilian jiu jitsu expert Alexis Davis was the most lopsided clobbering this side of the Atlantic in 2014.

As Rousey flipped Davis into a headlock and began pounding fists into her skull, the official quickly acknowledged the futility of the unconscious challenger to Rousey’s title and ended the fight after 16 seconds. Does that desciption sound familiar to World Cup fans? Replace punches to the dome with shots on goal and you've got Germany's clobbering of Brazil.

The second-quickest bout in UFC history inspired me to contemplate the existentialism of a contemporary Tyson knockout in fast forward and compile a short list of all the things you could do in the time it took for Rousey to do work at UFC 175.

Here's a list of things you could do in the time it took Rousey to win on Saturday night: wash a dish, do 20 pushups, compose a tweet, listen to Twista spit an entire verse and watch Usain Bolt run 200 meters. 

You may be able to add Germany’s Sharkeisha-like drubbing of Brazil to that list. There have been a small handful of losses that compare to Brazil’s, but none by a favorite to win the whole thing—much less the most accomplished national team in the world.

In the time it took Germany to turn a 1-0 lead into the most embarrassing loss by a football superpower in World Cup history, Rousey would still be putting Davis into a headlock.

Germany’s systematic blitzkrieg overpowered good old Brazilian football jiu jitsu flair in a showing that could only be described as traumatic for Brazilians. 

The German’s stereotypical stoic, machine-like efficiency was souped up for a showdown against the depleted host country.

Conversely, Brazil was more uneven than a rickety Honda with the blinking engine light. Instead of balling out on the pitch, they’ve poured their heart and soul into bawling.

Emotionally, they’ve been a walking geyser, spewing tears and dropping Shakespearian verses in post-match interviews throughout the World Cup.

Goalkeeper Julio Cesar bawled just as much after Brazil’s 2-1 win over Chile to reach the quarterfinals as he did after he was molded into a gargoyle statue by the German attack.

Brazilians get emotional about football. Perhaps it was the pressure of facing judgment, placed on them by their countrymen and the president of their football federation, but this squad got a little too emotive.

Prior to the Germany showdown, the Captain of the immaculate 1970 championship Brazilian side, Carlos Alberto Torres, said on Sport TV that the Brazilians need to get a grip.

"The team is crying when they're singing the anthem, when they get hurt, when they shoot penalties," Torres said. "Come on. Stop crying. Enough."

Instead of waxing poetically, the Germans just waxed Brazil like Mr. Miyagi.

The culprit of Brazil’s demise was their porous defense.

Even before Neymar was shelved by a flying kick to his vertebrae, Brazil’s "bend but don’t break", undisciplined defense was on the chopping block.

Central defender Thiago Silva being forced into a spectator role only compounded their issues with closing down lanes in the box.

Their backline was promptly chopped up by the passes Germany delivered between Brazil’s swiss cheese backline.

It’s hard to tell which rolled in quicker between the memes and the goals as time wore on Tuesday.

If you peer at the answer sheet on the back, the answer is memes.  More Germany-Brazil tweets were produced per second in the history of sporting events in the Twitter era meant that the memes poured a truck’s worth of salt over their blistering wounds that lasted long after the match ended.

More empirical analysis from FiveThirtyEight made the cross-sport connection to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 62-7 euthanasia of the Miami Dolphins in Dan Marino’s NFL swan song or a college hoops 16-seed getting pasted by a 1-seed in the Big Dance.

Over on Telemundo, the play-by-play announcer allegedly lost consciousness after shrieking “Goooooooaaaaaal” five times in 18 minutes during the first half. 

In 'Mericah! sports currency equivalency, Germany executed Nolan Richardson's 40 Minutes of Hell to perfection against a high school team without a ballhandler or a press breaker.

For Germany, this appears to be the culmination of an eight year buildup to a World Cup coronation. With all due respect to the Netherlands, no side has been more consistently precise since its opening match than the Germans.

Beginning with Thomas Müller's hat trick in their 4-0 opening win over Portugal, the Germans have been the gold standard in this World Cup.

36-year-old Miroslav Klose poured it on by tacking on his 16th career World Cup goal —surpassing Brazilian icon Ronaldo for first all-time. However, he may not possess that record very long.

Müller's fifth goal of the tournament placed him one goal or assist behind Colombia’s James Rodriguez in the Golden Boot award nomination. Müller distinguished himself as a 20-year-old Golden Boot winner in South Africa, and at the age of 24, he’s already procured 10 goals for himself. With at least two more World Cups in the horizons for Müller as a full-time German starter, it’s hard to imagine that he wouldn’t pass his countryman as the World Cup’s most prodigious all-time goal scorer.

In the short-term, don’t anticipate any hangover from Germany’s resounding win. The all-business Germans have lost to the champions in the semifinals or finals of each of the last four World Cups and European championships and have their eyes focused squarely on the prize now that Spain is out of their hair.

Brazil was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Germany has poured everything into this World Cup. Even going so far as to construct a hybrid palatial resort/Area 51 base camp on the northeast coast of Brazil.

Fortunately for Brazil, this isn’t the end. A third-place game awaits them, offering an oasis of redemption.

"My message for the Brazilian people is please excuse us for this performance," Scolari said after the massacre in Belo Horizonte. "I'm sorry that we weren't able to get to the final and we're going to try to win the third-place match. We still have something to play for."

Just don’t expect the fervor or attendance to match Brazil’s previous 2014 World Cup matches. On the highway to hell, redemption is hard to come by.

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