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Rediff.com  » Sports » World Cup PHOTOS: Hard reality sets in for Brazil fans; players apologise

World Cup PHOTOS: Hard reality sets in for Brazil fans; players apologise

July 13, 2014 13:15 IST

World Cup PHOTOS: Hard reality sets in for Brazil fans; players apologise

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The last place Brazilians expected to be embarrassed in the World Cup was on the pitch.

PHOTOS: Netherlands stroll past hapless Brazil to secure third spot

But that's precisely what happened for the second straight game on Saturday as Brazil bowed out of the tournament after losing 3-0 to the Netherlands.

Local fans at Brasilia's Mane Garrincha stadium were left scratching their heads, wondering what happened to their once-feared national team.

Complete coverage of the football World Cup 

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Image: Brazil fans react after the Netherlands scored to take a 3-0 lead
Photographs: Mario Tama/Getty Images

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Willing to give the team one more chance

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"I came here hoping we were going to win and restore our pride. That didn't happen," said psychologist Renata Barros.

She was one of thousands of Brazilians who turned out for the third-place playoff match, willing to give the team one more chance even after Tuesday's humbling 7-1 meltdown against Germany, Brazil's first loss in a competitive match at home in almost 40 years.

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Image: A Brazil fan cries
Photographs: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

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'Our team was the real disappointment'

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Now, the country's consecutive failures threaten to spoil a tournament that exceeded everyone's expectations after facing criticism for repeated delays in building stadiums and other infrastructure, much of it also way over budget.

"It was the other way around - things worked fine outside of the soccer field; our team was the real disappointment," said Robson Cintra, an electrical engineer.

After dreams of playing in Sunday's final were crushed, many Brazilians could not even bear to watch Saturday's game.

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Image: A dejected Brazil fan holding a Neymar mask reacts
Photographs: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

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Any hopes of a comeback seemed to vanish

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Bars in major cities that had been standing room only a week ago were all but empty. Some die-hard Brazil fans even swapped stories on Facebook about what they would do instead of watching what they rightly feared would be another embarrassment.

Inside the stadium, however, the mood remained festive with fans cheering loudly for Brazil even after Robin van Persie's third minute penalty put the Dutch ahead.

But any hopes of a comeback seemed to vanish when Daley Blind put the Netherlands up by two goals at the 16-minute mark, leaving the stadium silent.

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Image: Brazil soccer fans walk in the rain after watching a broadcast of their team's loss
Photographs: Jorge Silva/Reuters

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Booed coach Luiz Felipe Scolari

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By the end, Brazilians were applauding the Dutch team's cool control of the game and wondering about the future of soccer in what many consider the sport's spiritual home.

"Bring back Pele," read one sign held up by a fan, a reference to the legendary player who won three World Cups with Brazil.

Though fans cheered for their players before the match, especially when an image was shown of star forward Neymar who was on the sidelines with a back injury, they loudly booed coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

It was Scolari who led Brazil to a record fifth World Cup title in 2002, and the Brazilian football confederation brought him back before this Cup in the hope that he could work his magic again on home soil.

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Image: Brazil fans react
Photographs: Jorge Silva/Reuters

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'Brazilian soccer needs to change'

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But this Brazil team never quite gelled and showed itself to be too dependent on Neymar's remarkable talents, prompting fans and local sports commentators to turn against Scolari.

Many are calling for his resignation, and some are even urging Brazil to bring in a foreign coach for the first time in its proud soccer history.

"This shows that Brazilian soccer needs to change," said Airton Vantas, a government employee and fed up fan.

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Image: Brazil fans are devastated while watching the first half on Copacabana Beach
Photographs: Mario Tama/Getty Images

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Sad Brazil players apologise to fans after another heavy loss

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Hosts Brazil lost 3-0 to the Netherlands in their final World Cup match on Saturday and their players apologised to fans after another hugely disappointing performance in the third-place match.

"I don’t think we deserved for it to end like this," captain Thiago Silva said in a televised interview.

"We need to apologise to the fans, they booed us at the end, which is normal, they have feelings too. It's very tough."

Midfielder Oscar looked totally deflated after the defeat, which came just four days after Brazil were crushed 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals.

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Image: A Brazil fan is embraced by a woman in a bar on Copacabana Beach
Photographs: Mario Tama/Getty Images

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'We lost, there's nothing to say'

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"What can you say. We came here hoping to win third place but we didn't, it wasn't our day,” Oscar said. “We lost, there’s nothing to say.

"We lost a goal in two, three minutes and we were chasing the game.

"We are all very sad, the people are very sad, but we tried and we tried till the end."

Robin van Persie got the first Dutch goal from the penalty spot in the third minute, Daley Blind added a second just 13 minutes later and Georginio Wijnaldum rounded it off with a third in stoppage time.


Image: Brazil fans pray
Photographs: Jorge Silva/Reuters

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