Argentina, Netherlands set for battle, Brazil wonders what happened

Wed Jul 9, 2014 2:12pm EDT
 
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By Julian Linden

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Argentina and the Netherlands were getting ready to play on Wednesday for the right to join Germany in the World Cup final as the inquisition into Brazil's humiliating exit gathered pace.

The hopes of a South America winner now rest on the shoulders of Argentina captain Lionel Messi who will lead his team against the Dutch in the second semi-final in Sao Paulo, kicking off at 2000 GMT.

The host-nation's chances ended on Tuesday when they were thrashed 7-1 by a ruthless Germany in Belo Horizonte, a result that shocked the soccer world and plunged Brazil into a state of national mourning.

Brazilian media savaged the team's limp performance with newspapers describing the match as an "historic disgrace", "national humiliation", "eternal shame" and a "fiasco".

A lot of the blame was directed at Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, whose job is now the source of wide speculation with Tite, Muricy Ramalho and Vanderlei Luxemburgo looming as his possible successor.

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff took to social media to express her disappointment to a country reeling from disappointment after spending more than $11 billion on hosting the tournament.

"I'm immensely sorry for all of us, our fans and players," she tweeted. "But let's not let ourselves give up. Brazil, get up, dust yourself off and bounce back."

Riot police, who had been deployed at fan sites around the country to handle any violent outbreaks, had a quiet night with most fans too traumatized by the manner of defeat to revolt.   Continued...

 
Argentina's Lionel Messi (L) smiles during a team soccer training session at the arena di Corinthians stadium in Sao Paulo, July 8, 2014, a day before their 2014 World Cup semi-final soccer match against the Netherlands.  REUTERS/Dylan Martinez