SAO PAULO (AP) — It wasn't just a bad dream.
Brazilians woke up Wednesday to dreadful headlines describing the shame and humiliation of their soccer team's historic 7-1 defeat to Germany in a World Cup semifinal.
One of the country's leading soccer publications, Placar, stated simply: "A day to forget."
"It was the most shameful performance of all time," said Almir Rogelio, 32, who was looking at the doomsday headlines at a newsstand in central Sao Paulo. "I honestly woke up and didn't even want to remember what happened."
During Tuesday's slaughter, Germany scored faster than fans could fathom. Within minutes of kickoff, tears smudged children's faces, turning little cheeks to streaky messes of yellow and green face paint, the nation's colors.
Dreams of a sixth championship shattered in the first half hour of the game when Germany was already leading by a numbing 5-0. Many fans in the Belo Horizonte stadium left by halftime when it became clear Brazil was being routed at home. Some tore up their tickets and gave the thumbs down to TV cameras.
In Sao Paulo, where thousands gathered to watch the match in the neighborhood of Vila Madalena, a man clung to a street pole and cried loudly, as another fan nearby banged his head against a bar table.
"It was a tragedy. Sad, very sad, the greatest defeat in all the history of the Brazilian national team," wrote Tostao, one of Brazil's forwards on its 1970 World Cup championship team and now a sports columnist for the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper.
Most heartbreaking for many Brazilians was suffering the country's worst Cup defeat in its own backyard, as it hosted the tournament for the first time in 64 years.
"It was embarrassing. They have some nerve with the Brazilian people. We deserved so much better," said Manuel Alves, 58, as he stood on a main business avenue in Sao Paulo. "The worst was all the money spent, having so many other problems that need to be fixed."