‘End of the Dream’

Brazil danced into the quarter-finals of the World Cup but their dreams of a showpiece jig in the final ended in tears at Education City Stadium.

Brazil’s World Cup was ended by a European nation for the sixth consecutive tournament, and they last beat a side from that continent in the 2002 final against Germany.

Croatia schooled the Samba stars on penalties to end hopes of a sixth triumph as they were dumped out of the competition by a European nation again.

That was also the last of their five World Cup triumphs, and it has been 20 years since a non-European side lifted the trophy.

The statistics make for grim reading for Brazil.

The South American side have been slow starters and have failed to score in the first half of six of their past seven matches in the competition.

Had Vinicius Junior or Neymar put away the opportunities that fell their way in the opening period it may have been a different outcome.

Tite’s men also became the first team in World Cup history to be eliminated from a knockout match in which they scored the opening goal during extra time.

Meanwhile, the last time a nation ranked world number one reached the semi-finals was when Brazil did so back in 1998.

“It is not only myself that loses, the entire team loses,” said Tite. “We tried to focus on chances and finishing. Our strategy was to increase the volume – we had 19 chances and 11 shots at goal. They could not have one shot on target.

“I understand I am the most responsible one, but we are all responsible for this loss. That is football. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”

Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Twitter: “Brazil worked hard. Neymar scored a beautiful goal and the team deserved better. My respect to the players and manager.

“Let’s keep moving forward because in life we can never give up.”

Brazil website Globo Esporte bemoaned the ‘end of the dream’ on its home page.

It was for Tite, his players and all Brazil supporters.

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