Brazil could have been the fifth host nation to hoist the World Cup and celebrate on its home soil, but those hopes were dashed in an 18-minute flurry of German goals in the semifinals in Tuesday’s crushing 7-1 loss.
Now, the nation of 198 million supporters must make a difficult choice ahead of Sunday’s final at the Maracanã : Root for the team that humiliated you by a six-goal margin, Germany, or your most hated rival, Argentina.
Even though it might seem like a no-brainer to some, Seleção supporters ultimately will choose between the lesser of two evils.
Germany poured it on against Brazil with seven goals, and the match was over long before the first half ended, with the reactions from crying fans taking over the Web, and the loss surpassed the NFL’s Super Bowl as the most tweeted event in history, with 35.6 million posts, according to AdWeek.
But Brazil might take solace in the fact that they were beaten by the eventual champion, however painful and awful the thumping was. Though they have their flaws, the Germans have arguably fielded the best attack (totaling an incredible 17 goals) and up-and-down are the most complete team in the tournament. A loss to such a loaded and steaming train of a team can be accepted better than a meltdown to a lesser one.
Brazil is also made up of many cultures, one of which is a large German contingency, a group that immigrated in the 19th century and still maintains roots there.
Should Germany prevail over La Albiceleste, they’d have four total Cup titles, putting them one away from Brazil’s record five. A win for Argentina would also tie South America with Europe for the most Cups in history.
That reason alone could be enough for Brazil to put the rivalry aside for a few hours. Seven of South America’s nine World Cup victories have come at the expense of a European team, with Brazil claiming five and Argentina two. Uruguay won the other two, but bested Argentina and Brazil for both victories.
The Europeans, with Italy leading the way with four, have 10 Cups and claim three of the last four tournaments.
Yet, there might be too much bad blood between the two South American powerhouses. All told, they’ve squared off 95 times, with Argentina holding a slight advantage with 36 victories, compared to 35 for Brazil, with 24 draws between them.
Seleção has the better record in the World Cup, winning three of their four matches, though La Albiceleste took the most recent meeting in the Round of 16 in 1990, before falling to Germany 1-0 in the final.
Ultimately, there's no clear answer. It'll be an excruciating match to watch for the hosts, no matter who wins, but most Brazilians will likely pull for Germany in hopes their most heated rivals will lose to the same nation that memorably defeated them days earlier.