Sporting Kansas City midfielder Paulo Nagamura is a proud Brazilian native. Words were the last thing he wanted more of after his home country’s 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday afternoon.
He wanted more Brazilian goals, but the question had to be asked.
Are you OK?
“Nope,” Nagamura, 31, said with a forced laugh. “No, I am not.”
He had just finished watching Brazil get destroyed alongside Sporting KC teammate and fellow Brazilian Igor Julião. They couldn’t help but imagine their home country after such a stunning defeat.
“To be honest, I don’t know even what to say,” Nagamura said. “I’m really in shock from the way that the game ended up.”
During the national anthem, with Brazil still full of promise, defender David Luiz and goalkeeper Julio Cesar held up the jersey of teammate Neymar, a forward who missed the game after fracturing vertebrae in his lower back against Colombia in the quarterfinals. His absence was surely felt.
Also missing the semifinal match (because of a yellow card he received against Colombia) was Brazilian captain Thiago Silva. The loss of Silva along Brazil’s back line created a porous defense, allowing Thomas Müller to start the parade of scoring in the 11th minute. He was followed in the 23rd by Miroslav Klose, who set the record for most career goals in World Cup history with 16 goals in 23 appearances.
By the 29th minute, Brazil trailed 5-0 — the largest deficit ever in a World Cup semifinal at that point in a match. That was the score at halftime, too, as viewers around the world tried to rationalize the nonsensical.
While playing without two stars would hinder any team, Nagamura says an absence of mental fortitude hurt Brazil the most.
Emotions aside, he can see the game for what it was: The Germans simply outplayed the Brazilians in every way. From a soccer perspective, Nagamura wouldn’t delve too far into what went wrong for Brazil without knowing coach Luiz Felipe Scolari’s game plan but said his countrymen didn’t play smart.
Admitting the outcome was “a catastrophe” and accepting blame for the loss, Scolari told reporters afterward that “I think it was the worst day of my life, but life goes on.”
Added Luiz, the Brazil defender, “We wanted to make the people happy ... unfortunately we couldn’t. We apologize to all Brazilians.”
Nagamura can’t recall his earliest memory of soccer, but his ascension to Sporting KC began when he was an 11-year old with Sao Paulo Futbol Club. He played in the English Premier League for Arsenal before moving to the U.S. to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2005.
Right now, Brazil’s loss is Nagamura’s most recent memory of soccer, and he wishes he could forget it.
“It’s painful,” Nagamura said. “It’s painful, the way that the game went. It was really painful for us Brazilians to watch.”
Nagamura knows his people, his family in Brazil, are extremely disappointed. Those emotions are only magnified by the fact that Germany handed Brazil its worst World Cup loss ever on Brazilian soil, where the national team had not lost a competitive match since Aug. 21, 2002.
And now all Nagamura can do, all any Brazilian can do, is hope for peace in the aftermath.
“I think, of course, the Brazilian people are upset with the money that was spent toward the World Cup,” he said. “Listen, we knew that it was going to be hard to win a World Cup in Brazil. Even playing in Brazil, it was going to be really hard because we didn’t really have a solid, good team.
“We had a good team, but not the best team of the tournament. Maybe some people will be upset because Brazil didn’t win, but at the end of the day, it’s not about soccer. It’s about people’s lives and the country ,and I think they’re going to respect that and hopefully don’t do anything stupid.”
Soccer is part of every Brazilian’s daily routine, Nagamura explained. Days began with a sunrise and soccer and ending with soccer and the sunset.
He knows he will discuss the loss with his family eventually. Just not quite yet.
“I wish that four years could go really fast right now and we go to the next World Cup,” he said. “The way that ended up, I don’t think the Brazilian people ... deserved that kind of result.”
Star news services contributed to this report.