Diego Maradona believes that Brazil's image as the greatest footballing nation on Earth has been tarnished by their humiliating World Cup thrashing by Germany.
The Selecao had been hoping to banish the memory of their failure to lift the trophy the last time the country had staged the competition, in 1950, when they suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Uruguay in the tournament-deciding game in Rio de Janeiro.
However, a nation has been left with a fresh set of psychological scars after a humbling 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany in Belo Horizonte, a defeat that Maradona feels has irreparably damaged the five-time champions' reputation for on-field excellence.
"I said Germany were better than Brazil, as I didn't like Brazil from the start, but I didn't think Germany were going to be so imposing, so devastating, so decisive," the Argentine told Telesur.
"Brazil just didn't turn up and I think the worst thing for Brazil is that they gave an extremely poor image.
"Okay, Germany were strong but the Brazil players simply weren't on the pitch. It was like five-a-side. You give it to me, I give it you, and you shoot.
"Brazil didn't stop anything in the midfield; anyone could get through. The defenders, Dante and David Luiz, had no coordination.
"I'm sorry because Brazil was so proud of its team, they wanted to reach the final, but football gives you these hammer blows."