The tears started flowing before half time, and by the end of a 7-1 shellacking in the World Cup semifinal, millions across Brazil were in dazed, damp-eyed disbelief. 

The national team wasn't just defeated by a powerful German team. It was routed in front of the entire world, humiliated at its own party. It conjured up painful memories of another painful defeat: Brazil's 1950 World Cup loss to Uruguay. Young and old, Brazilians shared in the anguish of what many were already calling a national calamity, the worst loss in its team's storied World Cup history.

'You are going to have the most depressed country ever.'-  Pablo Ramoz, Brazil fan

In Belo Horizonte, German fans were escorted out of Mineirao stadium after the game. Police were out on the streets across the country to guard against potential riots, but hours after the game, Brazilians seemed more shocked than angry.

“It’s incredibly sombre to say the least,” said CBC’s David Amber, reporting from Rio de Janeiro.

The rain of seven German goals, several in rapid succession, devastated fans who had gathered to watch the match on the big screens on Rio’s Copacabana beach.

"The problem is psychological," said Brazil fan Fabio Fontes. "It would be normal for the team to lose against Germany, but not in this fashion."

Brazil WCup Soccer Germany

Soccer fans in Sao Paulo watch in horror as Germany dominates the home side en route to a 7-1 win. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

With Brazil's star striker Neymar out injured and captain Thiago Silva suspended for the match, it quickly became clear the Brazilians couldn't handle the Germans.

To make matters worse, at Copacabana’s Fan Fest viewing area, hundreds of people stampeded out as a gang of young men carried out a mass robbery, running through crowd, inciting panic and snatching necklaces and bags along the way.

That, coupled with the crushing game, sent many fans heading home.

With Brazil tossed out of its own World Cup in such rough fashion, "you are going to have the most depressed country ever," Pablo Ramoz said.

Brazil spent billions of dollars preparing for the tournament, with expectations that home advantage could deliver Brazil a sixth title, but the high cost also ignited intense anger and protests against the World Cup, with demonstrators lamenting the costs when the nation is saddled with woeful public services. 

Few thought Germany's stomping of Brazil would spark renewed mass protests — but it is certain to put a severely sour taste back into the mouths of the nation's fans.

'What a shame!'

In Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, thousands gathered in the Bohemian neighbourhood of Vila Madalena, the streets carpeted with yellow, green and blue — the colours of the Brazilian flag.

Fan Samir Kelvin clung to a street pole and loudly cried: "I have nothing left! I am Brazilian and humiliated I want to kill myself!"

Nearby, a woman cried out "What shame, what shame!" as a man nearby was banging his head against a bar table.

The website Veja Sao Paulo, meanwhile, tweeted an image of Brazil fans burning the country's flag.

A large group of fans gathered at a 600-unit apartment complex in Rio couldn't believe what they had witnessed.

Jorge Cardoso, an engineer, blamed the loss on the injury that sidelined Neymar and the benching of Silva for accumulating two yellow cards during the tournament.

He said simply: "It's like someone you love has died."

WIth files from CBC News