Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BEYOND ANALOGY:  Dan Levy, on Germany/Brazil:
There is no way to properly put this loss in perspective because nothing like this has ever happened before. It's unimaginable that anything, in any sport, will happen like this again.... If history remembers this game properly—if it's our job to use words like this to do just that—this will go down as the worst defeat any of us will ever see. It was exactly that bad. It may have been worse.


  1. Jordan9:12 PM

    Brazil and Spain were two of the favorites to win it all. In a six minute period against Brazil, Germany scored as many goals as Spain had in the entire tournament.

  2. Duvall9:52 PM

    How often have we seen a margin of defeat so shocking, in any sport? How often have we seen a team play in such a tumultuous social and political environment, in any sport? How many teams mean so much to their fans, in any sport?

    Now think of all that crashing together in ten minutes of game action.

  3. Adam B.9:55 PM

    Isaac and I were talking about this on FB. I asked if a massive Canada loss in Olympic hockey to the US, during the Vancouver Games, would have compared. And, he's right, it's still not this.

  4. So Germany : Brazil :: San Antonio : Miami.

  5. Duvall10:22 PM

    Maybe if San Antonio had won every game in Miami by about 150-30, in a series Miami had been waiting six decades for.

  6. Can someone translate this for someone who isn't following the World Cup? I mean, is this like a 49-3 baseball game? Worse? Better? Not comparable? Is it in part because Brazil is hosting the games? Is it because the fact that the victors were Germans allows everyone to make Blitzkrieg jokes?

  7. Isaac spaceman11:36 PM

    What I said on Twitter is that the conditions for a defeat this catastrophic cannot be exceeded, and probably never will be equalled. Brazil cares about only one sport. It mortgaged itself for between 3B and 9B dollars to host. It has been looking forward to this tournament for four years (and really, as Raf Noboa pointed out, for 64 years, since the heartbreaking loss the last time Brazil hosted). And it came into the tournament as the favorite, having not lost a non-friendly on Brazilian turf in longer than anyone can remember. So the combination of fiscal investment, emotional investment, expectation, and national pride has no precedent. Yet they didn't just lose, or lose badly--they were historically embarrassed. From what I understand, no putative contender has ever suffered a 39-minute stretch like that, ever.

    I can't even hypothesize a valid analogy. If Canada loses in Olympic hockey, it waits a week and buries itself in the resumption of the NHL season. The Olympics themselves diffuse interest so that there's always another rooting interest. If you're a Brazilian fan, what's next for you? You're holding your share of the bill for a bunch of underused stadia, including an empty one in the middle of the Amazon, and all of your favorite players are on their way back to play for club teams a half a world away. You waited 64 years for this? Analogies to Denver collapses or Yankees WS blowouts or series sweeps, to me, are figments of the narcissism of superfans who can't put their own experiences in context. They are trivial next to this one.

  8. Isaac spaceman11:45 PM

    And also Miami paid billions for the right to host all the games in the series and the Dolphins and Marlins and college football and college basketball didn't exist and all of the Miami players were actually from Miami.

  9. Benner9:01 AM

    It's not so much the margin as what it revealed about each side. Here was a vulnerable favorite in Brazil who was horribly exposed, and a German team revealed to be so much better. I wonder if you have to go back to Boxing, where Brazil is Tyson in the Douglas fight, but maybe Germany is Ali over Liston.

    What it is, is the tennis match where Richie Tenenbaum melts down, if the opponent were 2006 Roger Federer.

  10. So, to take a slightly different boxing analogy, it's the first Balboa v. Lang fight?

  11. Benner9:16 AM

    Boxing doesn't work, though, because it's not a nation on the jersey. Germany was more technical superiority and speed than raw power, also. Judges will accept Drago-Creed.

  12. I am a severe hater of hyperbole, and having watched the game, the breakdown suffered by Brazil's defense was no worse than the breakdown suffered by the Denver Broncos' offense in last year's Super Bowl. Ass whuppings happen in sport. Settle down and be real.

  13. Fred App9:58 AM

    There have been similar whuppings in sport, and if that's all we look at, then there are plenty of analogies. But the city of Denver was never as tied up in the success of the Broncos and the city of Miami was never as tied up in the Heat as the entire COUNTRY of Brazil was tied up with their soccer team.

    I spent the first two weeks of the tournament in Rio, and I think it was clear that the Brazilians who loved the idea of hosting the World Cup (and many did not) loved it merely as far as it involved the Brazilian team. Unlike South Africa four years ago, no one in Brazil would have paid any attention to the tournament if the Selecao were not playing. And now that they are not (I discount the consolation game), I wonder if anyone in Brazil besides the visiting fans from other countries really care anymore.

  14. How about if the Miracle on Ice happened -- but the game was in Russia. Would that be the same level of horror?

  15. Sophietje11:13 AM

    I'll make a slight stab at this... it's more like an 21-1 baseball game. I mean it's a score I've seen before in MLB, but *very*, *very* rarely. It's just not a score you ever expect seeing in the playoffs- in baseball, you'll probably only see a score like that when the bargain basement Cubs are playing the best of the Yankees at some point when the Cubs have already given up for the season, right?
    I think most people expected the Germans to win this game- Brazil lost one of their best in the previous match with a broken back- but no one predicted it would be such a devastating and humiliating loss.
    But, it's also not fair to compare it to a baseball game- these games are much, much more important for all the reasons others have stated- and all those reasons made such a lopsided score all the worse.
    But all that said, Brazil has won 5 world cups- the most ever, and they had every right to expect this to be #6.

  16. Sophietje11:17 AM

    probably not, unless the score was something like 14-1.

  17. Adam B.11:36 AM

    It's more like the Miracle on Ice, had we won it in Moscow, 12-0. And still not quite.

  18. Watchman12611:50 AM

    NPR had a piece yesterday based on comparative normal scores for American pro sports. Germany's 7 goals represents the equivalent of 14 goals in hockey, 22 runs in baseball, 107 points in football, and 423 points (!) in basketball.

  19. Adam B.12:01 PM

    I don't think anyone's saying "teams don't collapse like this." It's "collapse that hard, at home, in a game of this importance."

  20. Benner12:50 PM

    I think what's remarkable is that while TEAMS collapse like that, the Brazil Selecao does not.

    Aside from the first 6 minutes, there was not one facet of the game that Brazil performed as well as Germany, that Brazil performed well, or even that Brazil performed adequately. Every single player on Brazil was worse than his counterpart at Germany, by an order of magnitude. The coaching and tactics were a wide gulf in class. And in soccer, against sides like this, these asswhuppings do not happen. A 14-2 baseball score in the world series can happen if a pitcher gets knocked out early and a few breaks go against you. Football has the any given sunday anyone can win ethos. This just doesn't happen in soccer among respectable sides, and if it does, it doesn't happen to Brazil at home in a semi-final. This is the score you see in Faroe Islands in a qualifier. This would be if Denver forgot how to line up at scrimmage. It's a video game result.

    It was the ghastliest semi-final since Gloria Upson stepped on the ball in her match against Bunny Bixler.

  21. Benner12:54 PM

    And somehow the match wasn't as close as the score indicated. I think you have to imagine the USSR team forgetting how to ice-skate for it to be like the miracle on ice, except for the fact that it's not just Germany as the plucky underdog, Germany might be as good as the Gretzky Oilers teams.

  22. The Pathetic Earthling3:52 PM

    The only thing that comes to mind is Agincourt -- obviously, it's a bit more stylized in Henry V -- but the real won really was that big of a lopsided defeat. The French had every possible advantage, every possible reason to win, every expectation they would. They assumed they would have all the time they needed to start the battle on their terms. Henry moved earlier than the French expected and the French took the bait. ANd then lost one of the most lopsided and -- at least for the life of Henry V until his son lost it -- one of the most consequential battles in European history.