Brazil sports minister says 7-1 loss shows shake-up needed
RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil's humiliating 7-1 defeat by Germany has left a deep scar on the World Cup hosts and highlighted the need for a soccer shake-up in the country, but it was not on the same scale as the "national tragedy" of losing the 1950 final, Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said on Thursday.
"It has a left a terrible blemish, a deep scar, it was a disaster," Rebelo told journalists at FIFA's daily briefing at the Maracana, where Brazil had hoped to be competing in Sunday's final.
Instead, Germany and Argentina will be vying for the biggest prize in football, while Brazil face the Netherlands on Saturday in the third-fourth place playoff in Brasilia.
Rebelo said Brazil must learn from their record World Cup loss in Tuesday's semi-final in Belo Horizonte and make changes to the way the sport is organised and run by the Brazilian football association (CBF).
Both Rebelo and President Dilma Rousseff said Brazil has to stop exporting so many of its best players to Europe and elsewhere if it wants to inject new life into soccer in Brazil.
"Brazilian soccer must be renewed. Brazil cannot continue exporting players. If you export players you lose the main attraction for filling stadiums," Rousseff said in an interview with CNN on Thursday.
Rebelo said Brazil was exporting players even before they have been fully developed - a significant number of players from the (national) Under-15 team are already playing abroad.
"Our legislation makes it easy to export players and gives agents enormous power. We are discussing with Congress legislation which will help clubs modernise their management and take on more responsibilities," Rebelo said.
Rebelo has spoken at length about the 2-1 loss to Uruguay in 1950, which he said was a "national tragedy" that deprived Brazil of winning the World Cup the first time it hosted the tournament 64 years ago.
"Because of the way the final pool worked out in those days all we needed was a draw to be world champions, but although what happened in 1950 and what happened today are unfortunate happenings, we must remember the defeat against Uruguay was a final match, and the squad at the time was considered to be much better than the one we have today.
"The 1950 squad was a constellation of incredible, star players," he continued.
"The team that lost to Germany is a squad that people thought could become world champions but in the first phase they drew with Mexico, then they drew with Chile, so it wasn't a big surprise that this squad could lose to Germany.
"I was among those people who thought Brazil could beat Germany but if you concede four goals in six minutes, then you can't win.
"I think (former Argentine captain) Daniel Passarella made the most apt comment when he said, 'That wasn't Brazil on the pitch and that wasn't Germany on the pitch'.
"It was like an accident, but we must analyse the causes of this accident to make sure our squad returns to the top -- but that's another story." (Editing by Ed Osmond)