Bye-Bye Brazil: No Team Has Looked This Bad at the World Cup Since Haiti in 1974

Slate's soccer blog.
July 8 2014 5:11 PM

Bye-Bye Brazil: No Team Has Looked This Bad at the World Cup Since Haiti in 1974

Brazil
Brazil is sad.

Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

Germany scored five goals in the first half of its World Cup semifinal against Brazil. Wait: Germany scored five goals in the first half of its World Cup semifinal against Brazil? Yes, Germany just scored five goals in the first half of its World Cup semifinal against Brazil!

How bad is it to give up five goals in the first half of a World Cup semifinal? This is the first time in four decades that any team at any stage of the tournament has been that porous defensively. Way back in 1974, Poland beat Haiti 7–0, scoring first-half goals in the 17th, 18th, 30th, 31st, and 34th minutes. This was the first and only time that Haiti played in the World Cup, and it did not go well.

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Brazil, by contrast, is the only nation to make it to every World Cup. They have the most wins in the tournament’s history, and they had the most goals until Germany zoomed past them with their first-half onslaught.* They have won the World Cup five times. And on Tuesday, they looked like Haiti.

*Correction, July 9, 2014: This post originally misstated that Brazil has the most goals in World Cup history. Germany passed Brazil’s record in the first half of Tuesday’s semifinal. The Germans now have 223 all-time World Cup goals to Brazil’s 221.

Josh Levin is Slate's executive editor.

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