Belo Horizonte: This was not just a humiliation, a beating, a complete and utter demolition job. It was the ritual disembowelling of a team, the deconstruction not just of a squad of footballers, but of a nation's hopes and dreams.
Teams don't win World Cup semi-finals 7-1. It simply doesn't happen. Surely not in the modern day and age, But yes, it did, and it is Germany who will now head to Rio to try to win their fourth World Cup on Sunday (Monday AEST), and Brazil who must bear the shame and the ignominy, the dishonour, discomfiture and degradation of such a slaughter.
And it wasn't as if Germany had to be particularly brilliant. They were good, of that make no mistake. But when a team wins this easily its hard to know just how good. It wasn't as if they were scything Brazil apart with sumptuous flowing football of the kind that will leave the rest of the world looking on, breathless
But its relentlessness as it powered on and on to get to the final tally of seven had a terrible beauty about it, the total subjugation of an opponent who, before this match, seemed to think it had a divine right to be in the final.
In fact the scoreline and the poverty of the Brazilian performance distorted even the fact that this was a game in which a record for the ages was set: Miroslav Klose's goal, Germany's second, was his 16th in World Cups, making the 36-year-old veteran of four tournaments the record goalscorer in the history of the competition.
He and his teammates were aided and abetted by some of the worst defending ever seen in a game at this level. So simple was it for Die Nationalmannschaft that to compare it even to stealing sweets from a child's pram is understating the ease with which Brazil was ripped asunder time and again.
Brazil left-back Marcelo, with his impetuous desire to get forward, continued to leave gaps on his side of the pitch which weren't covered.
David Luiz, captain on this most notorious of days, and his centre back partner Dante, drafted in to replace suspended skipper Thiago Silva, stood immobile and unaccountable, the antithesis of what is required at the highest level.
The midfield lacked bite, the wingers rarely threatened, and Fred, the figure of fun up front? He simply lumbered as ever, in ever-less threatening positions.
Every time Germany came forward they either scored, or looked like doing so, as the Brazilians gazed, ball-watched, made half-hearted challenges or simply gave the ball away in dangerous areas.
It was like a surreal dream as Brazil first crumbled, then collapsed before finally capitulating in such a supine fashion.
If this was any other sport, one which involved a mercy rule, the contest would have been stopped - and all of Brazil would have applauded.
The players themselves looked like fighters who know that this was one bout too many, one test for which they had been overmatched. They looked as though they would have been happy to quit on their stools and throw in the towel to save themselves further punishment and the agony of another hour of futile football.
Brazil have never been convincing in this World Cup. They have had the benefit of fanatical home support, of some dubious refereeing decisions and they have ridden their luck. And they have relied on the quality of Neymar, their superstar, to create something out of nothing.
They have drawn widespread criticism for the physicality of their approach, for the lumpen nature of their play and the lack of imagination in their midfield.
Brazil has run on a high octane mix of emotion and energy, of hype and hysteria, fuelled by a fan base whipped into a frenzy by a media dreaming of the ultimate glory.
This was the day the chickens came home to roost, the day when the world saw that the Emperor had no clothes.
Much was made of Neymar's absence leading into this match; fans in the stands carried cardboard cut outs of the absent striker. Captain for the day Luiz and goalkeeper Julio Cesar carried a flag bearing his name. The team arrived for the game all wearing hats bearing the legend ''Forza Neymar''.
Was too much emotional capital spent on acknowledging the team's hero? Did the players believe they could not win without him?
Or is the truth more prosaic, that without the organising talents of the suspended Silva and his robust defensive qualities Brazil were a rabble at the back and paid the heaviest of penalties.
This wasn't the Brazil of the earlier games in other ways, either.
The physicality of their approach was muted - it was as if all the criticism had to to them - and, after Germany scored, all the energy went out of their play.
And Germany held the key to this game. Perhaps they were the first side - even more than the excellent Colombia and Chile - who had come up against Brazil in this tournament and had not considered themselves inferior. The first team who glanced at the Brazilian team-sheet and who saw not threats and concerns but opportunities and weak links.
After taking the heat out of the Brazilian early onslaught they silenced it in the best possible fashion, with that early goal by Thomas Mueller, left completely unmarked at a corner to volley home.
The second virtually put the game beyond doubt when Klose stuck his record-breaking goal, his first shot saved by Julio Cesar, the striker banging home the rebound while the defenders looked on.
Therein followed, in quick succession, two goals to Toni Kroos in a three-minute burst (23rd and 26th minutes) and a fifth to Sami Khedira in the 29th.
All that was left for Brazil in the second half was to save face. They tried, and it was a more even contest.
But just to rub salt in the wound German substitute Andre Schurrle came off the bench to nab the sixth in the 69th minute, popping up between Luiz and Dante to sweep home. The stand in central defender must surely have felt at this stage as if he was in all nine circles of hell simultaneously: certainly Brazil were, and their pain only intensified when Schurrle got away from the lumbering Luiz to smash a seventh in off the crossbar.
By the time Oscar pulled one back it was purely academic.
This was the tournament that, in popular myth, was going to be the World Cup where the Selecao erased the nightmare of 1950, when they were defeated at home in the final by Uruguay.
Instead they have an even bigger nightmare to deal with now. Brazil is a nation in meltdown, on the field and in the stands.
Germany march on, and in truth Joachim Loew might want to make sure he has a stiff probables v possible match in training before Sunday _ it will give his first team the sort of work out they didn't receive here.