BELO HORIZONTE - Brazil's World Cup dream was smashed into oblivion Tuesday as majestic Germany ran riot to win an extraordinary semi-final 7-1, sending the hosts crashing to the worst defeat in their 100-year footballing history.
Sixty-four years after Brazil was plunged into national mourning after their loss in the 1950 final, the hosts were torn apart in a defeat likely to be every bit as traumatic as the fabled "Maracanazo."
Tearful Brazil captain David Luiz immediately apologised to the South American nation after a rout that was swiftly christened "The Shame of Shames" by the football-mad nation's media.
"Apologies to everybody, apologies to all the Brazilian people," sobbed Luiz.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari echoed the mood of despair. "We ask for forgiveness," Scolari said.
"To the people, please excuse us for this negative mistake."
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff added to the gloom.
"Like every Brazilian, I am very, very sad about this defeat. I am immensely sorry for all of us. Fans and our players," she wrote on Twitter, where many Brazilians vented their anger via the hashtag #vergonhabrasil (humiliation Brazil).
Germany star Thomas Mueller, who plundered his fifth goal of the tournament in the thrashing, admitted he was stunned by the scale of the victory.
"I don't know what to say to be honest," Mueller said.
'It's totally crazy'
"I can't believe it. It's something totally crazy. It just went well today," added Mueller, whose team will now face either Argentina or the Netherlands in Sunday's final at the Maracana.
Germany's passage to Rio was booked after a first-half blitz which included a burst of four goals in six devastating minutes.
Mueller opened the scoring on 11 minutes, punishing poor Brazilian marking at a corner to make it 1-0.
Brazil, badly missing suspended captain Thiago Silva, tried to regroup but there was no respite.