They spent the previous four days weeping for Neymar. They will spend the rest of their lives grieving about Tuesday, 8 July, and the day that Brazilian football was demolished in one of its own great cities.
In the list of great sporting collapses it is hard to think of an occasion as raw, as painful and as humiliating as this, when Germany scored five goals in 29 minutes against a Brazil team that had taken leave of any semblance of a game-plan. Extraordinary and excruciating to watch it was a World Cup match like no other. Even the Germans sensed that they should mute their celebrations, as if they were also bystanders at a solemn state funeral.
Something was lost to Brazilian football that will never be recovered, not in this generation or perhaps many more to come. It was their misfortune that the second World Cup finals in their country coincided with one of the most mediocre Brazil teams in memory but even then no-one expected a defeat that Luiz Felipe Scolari himself described as “catastrophic, terrible”. This was football history being made. It was a realignment of how we think about the world game and where the power lies.
Here are some pictures of the many hearts broken during the clashes between Germany and also during the third place final against Holland.
This was the tournament that was supposed to exorcise the ghosts of the “Maracanazo” and instead it has lumbered a whole new generation of Brazilians with a complex they may never shift.