| RIO DE JANEIRO, July 9
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 9 As they stared into the
bottom of their beer glasses, stunned at being thrashed 7-1 by
Germany in the World Cup semi-final, many Brazilians expressed
frustration at yet another false promise and a history of
The national team's coach, Felipe Scolari, had long told his
countrymen he would deliver soccer's most prized trophy on home
soil, Brazil having already won the World Cup five times. The
team bus, which drove an inconsolable squad away from the
stadium in Belo Horizonte, had "brace yourself, the sixth is
coming" painted across its side. Even President Dilma Rousseff
expressed confidence in the team.
But on Tuesday it all came tumbling down, illustrating what
many here and beyond say is a national trait toward over
promising and under delivering, on the soccer pitch and off.
Finance Minister Guido Mantega, for instance, is often
lampooned for optimistic economic forecasts that have usually
fallen short in recent years more characterized by stagnation.
State-run oil firm Petrobras has also missed
production and startup targets for Brazil's vast offshore oil
"Over-promising erodes credibility over time and ultimately
means investors are going to look at other markets," said David
Rees, emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, a London
investment firm. "It's virtually every day that you see
something ticking down on the newswires where Mantega is doing
an interview saying growth is going to accelerate."
Disappointed, investors have turned their back on an economy
they could not get enough of during a recent decade in which
growth reached an annual average exceeding 4 percent.
Foreign direct investment in Brazil fell 4 percent from 2012
to 2013, making it the worst performing target for investors out
of the BRICS - a group of emerging market countries comprising
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
No surprise, then, if soccer-mad Brazilians feel more than a
little let down by the drubbing from Germany on Tuesday,
especially during a blaze of four goals scored in six minutes of
the punishing first half.
"We were promised so much and it's been a disaster," Hernani
Pennino, an I.T. worker, said pouring himself a healthy measure
of Johnnie Walker in a Rio de Janeiro bar during the match.
The media is full of soul searching, finger-pointing and
full-page headlines and graphics reminiscent of wartime
newspaper extras. #EmbarrassedBrazil is trending on twitter.
On Wednesday, Brazil's coaching staff were contrite at a
press conference, during which assistant coach Carlos Alberto
Parreira said "it was an obligation to be optimistic" before the
tournament. "You don't say we are going to war but we are going
to lose it."
(Addional reporting by Jeb Blount and Walter Brandimarte in Rio
de Janeiro; Editing by Paulo Prada and Grant McCool)