Not just a loss for Brazil, but a defeat for football fans

This World Cup should never have been played. Something miraculous should happen in a few hours to make Fifa announce that it will have to be abandoned and held again from the beginning.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2014 09:57 IST
Sandipan Sharma
Sandipan Sharma
Hindustan Times
Fifa World Cup 2014,Brazil World Cup 2014,Brazil vs Germany

This World Cup should never have been played. Something miraculous should happen in a few hours to make Fifa announce that it will have to be abandoned and held again from the beginning.

This isn't the World Cup thousands of fans had hoped for. This isn't the World Cup we had waited for since 2010. Brasil 2014 is a voodoo spell we need to break. This isn't real. This is unbelievable.

First it was Spain. We all consoled ourselves that the Spaniards were past their prime. Then came Neymar's exit. We all convinced ourselves that it was one of the cruel vagaries of the game.

But Brazil's destruction is one coincidence too many.

On no other night, not in the century that is behind us, not in the century that awaits us; not in the past, not in the future would Brazil have been or will be down five goals in the first 30 minutes of a semi-final. Not in any World Cup have we seen Germany score four goals in six minutes (23rd to 29th minute); not in any other World Cup will we see them do this again.

(For the record, Brazil's heaviest defeat before the humiliation on Tuesday night was 94 years ago when they lost 0-6 to Uruguay.)

All the football pundits in the world can't convince us that Brazil were so bad. All the German fans in the entire world can't convince themselves that their side was so good. Brazil vs Germany was not a game of football, it was a freak accident.

On hindsight, the same could be said of the game that was played between Spain and the Netherlands.

Was this football? It seemed a German side packed with Boris Becker, Michael Stitch and Steffi Graf was playing a game of tennis against some Brazilian tourists on a Sunday picnic. 6-0 (like many others, I didn't watch after that) is a scoreline meant only for tennis.

The World Cup was meant to be a celebration of the joy of football. Tuesday night completed what has been a month of painful carnage. The Germans fans were not screaming in the stands, their players weren't celebrating on the ground after the third goal. Everybody was gaping at the field with their glazed eyes in disbelief.

It seemed everybody was just waiting for just one thing: the final whistle. Even the refree obliged them by not adding even a second of stoppage time to the second half.

If not for anything else, Brazil's players need to be rewarded for their bravado of staying on the field for full 90 minutes. Not everybody would have been able to stand this kind of public disrobing of the pride of a great footballing nation.

Whatever happens in this World Cup after Tuesday night, whoever goes on to win it, the defining memory would be that of the nano-second that broke Neymar's back, the 360 seconds that destroyed Brazil, and the few minutes of madness that led to Spain's massacre.

In sport, one painful memory can haunt a fan forever. Ask the Indians who saw the Indian hockey team lose 1-7 to Pakistan in the 1982 Asian Games. Prod the cricket fans who watched their team crumble against Sri Lanka in the semi-final of the 1996 World Cup. Speak to those who saw Chetan Sharma full-toss turn into Javed Miandad's last-ball six at Sharjah.

This football World Cup would also linger like a mournful night. Those who were unfortunate enough to be there would remember it like a funeral instead of a birthday party. It would remind us more of the demise of Brazil and Spain and less of the birth of a new champion.

Somebody like Houdini needs to cast a spell and make this World Cup disappear. Perhaps, as Ghalib said, somebody needs to be Ibn-e-Mariyam (son of Mariyam) to give us a medicine for this pain.

Or still better, the World Cup needs to be played again. Fifa?

(Views expressed are personal)

First Published: Jul 09, 2014 09:28 IST