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How will Brazil cope with third place play-off?
THERE are times in football when you can scarcely believe what is happening before your eyes.
England’s 5-1 thrashing of Germany in 2001 and 4-1 Euro 96 victory over Holland both fit into this category.
Others would be the Manchester United v Bayern Munich Champions League final of 1999 and the Liverpool v AC Milan version of 2005.
Now we can add Tuesday night’s World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Germany to the list.
Won 7-1 by the Germans, what unfolded in Belo Horizonte was quite astonishing.
The humbling of one of the game’s superpowers in their own backyard defied belief.
Never before had the football world witnessed such a scoreline in such a high stakes match, and likely never will again.
The question now is where do Brazil go from here?
On Saturday, those same players have to face a third place play-off where there will be no hiding place, even if the pressure of reaching a final won’t be on them.
Many wondered how they would cope without the injured Neymar and suspended skipper Thiago Silva. Now we know.
How will they cope after being humiliated by Germany?
Having surely hit rock bottom, they can’t get any worse, but the mental scars won’t be easy to heal.
In a few short weeks these players will be back with their club sides, David Luiz with a Paris St Germain team who signed him from Chelsea for £50m.
How the French giants might wish they could reconsider that one.
Luiz said Tuesday was “a day from which to learn”. He’s not wrong.
Germany’s Thomas Muller said he couldn’t believe it.
Neither could we.