Had they lost with effort and dignity, all might have been forgiven. With Neymar and Thiago Silva missing in action, the Brazilians had a built-in excuse against Germany. Lose 1-0 or 2-1, and Brazil's players get some attaboys, back pats and, "We'll get 'em in 2018."
But not this. Not a 7-1 World Cup shellacking that confirmed suspicions of an emotionally brittle team.
When several Brazil players shed tears -- often of the joyous variety -- at previous games and appointments with the team psychologist were hastily arranged, criticism around the country that the team needs to man up sounded severe.
In hindsight, a team trait might have been exposed, one of fragility. How could one goal granted to Germany precipitate an utter collapse?
Brazil's back line, all but abandoned by the midfielders on defense, could not prevent a torrent of scoring. At the other end, the forwards and mids were muffled, aside from the first and last few minutes of the second half. The final score in soccer does not always reflect the sum total of goings-on in a game. This time, 7-1 was dead-on.
Good gracious, Brazil got outscored after halftime by a team just biding its time until the last toot of the whistle.
No doubt Brazil was coping with a unique pressure as the tournament's host team and favorite. But a talented roster plus a well-documented home-nation advantage should have tipped the scales in its favor, at least to put up a competitive front against any foe.
Sixty-two straight national team wins on home ground, dating to 1975. Those numbers seem incompatible with these: 7-1.
Maybe another round with the shrink will unearth why the players collectively lack the mental toughness that is an underpinning to championship teams.