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Brazil President: 'My nightmares never got so bad'

By Mick Krever, CNN
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Brazilian President tells CNN she never imagined severity of defeat against Germany
  • Brazil lost to Germany 7-1 in World Cup semi-final on Wednesday
  • Brazil proved itself in another way by putting on first class World Cup, says President

(CNN) -- Never in her worst nightmares did Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff imagine such a crushing soccer defeat, she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

"My nightmares never got so bad, Christiane," she said through an interpreter. "They never went that far. As a supporter, of course, I am deeply sorry because I share the same sorrow of all supporters. But I also know that we are a country that has one very peculiar feature. We rise to the challenge in the face of adversity. We are able to overcome."

Brazil, she said, will recover from this "extremely painful situation."

"Being able to overcome defeat I think is the feature and hallmark of a major national team and of a great country."

Watch Rousseff in Portuguese
A Brazil fan reacts after his team was crushed 7-1 by Germany in a World Cup semifinal match played Tuesday, July 8, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The emotions in the country were reminiscent of 1950, when Brazil last hosted the World Cup and suffered a heartbreaking defeat. A Brazil fan reacts after his team was crushed 7-1 by Germany in a World Cup semifinal match played Tuesday, July 8, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The emotions in the country were reminiscent of 1950, when Brazil last hosted the World Cup and suffered a heartbreaking defeat.
World Cup ghosts return to haunt Brazil
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Brazil 1-7 Germany (2014): A whole nation expected its team to at least reach the final on home soil ... but suffered the ultimate humiliation. Brazil, seeking a record-extending sixth World Cup crown, was swept asunder by a rampant Germany team which scored four goals in a mere six minutes to lead 5-0 before the half-hour mark of this totally one-sided semifinal. Oscar got a goal back but it was very much a case of too little too late. It was Brazil's worst World Cup defeat, surpassing 1998's 3-0 final setback against France. Brazil 1-7 Germany (2014): A whole nation expected its team to at least reach the final on home soil ... but suffered the ultimate humiliation. Brazil, seeking a record-extending sixth World Cup crown, was swept asunder by a rampant Germany team which scored four goals in a mere six minutes to lead 5-0 before the half-hour mark of this totally one-sided semifinal. Oscar got a goal back but it was very much a case of too little too late. It was Brazil's worst World Cup defeat, surpassing 1998's 3-0 final setback against France.
The World Cup's greatest shocks
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Brazil fan: '7-1 is unbelievable!'

Watch Rousseff's interview in Portuguese

Tuesday's semi-final match against Germany was always going to be a tough challenge for the home side, but no one predicted the 7-1 thrashing that sent rival Germany to the finals.

"We came into this match without two of our main players, Neymar, a major attacker, and our captain, Thiago Silva."

Brazil's World Cup performance is important to Rousseff not only as a matter of national pride, but as a matter of politics.

"If we had won," one Brazilian told CNN's Isa Soares, "the people would have forgotten all the money spent; at least now the realities are back in focus."

The country saw widespread anger and protests against what many viewed as excessive spending on stadiums and infrastructure for the World Cup.

Rousseff, who is bidding for re-election this October, put a big emphasis on the World Cup as a chance for Brazil to prove itself on the world stage.

"One has to bear in mind that from all different aspects, the fact is that Brazil has organized and staged a World Cup, which I do believe is one of the world's best World Cups. And that is largely due to the Brazilian people's ability to offer and extend hospitality and welcome supporters from all over the world."

READ: Five things about the beat down in Brazil

READ: It's not just the World Cup. Brazil has another big, fat problem

READ: Brazil's World Cup hammering spurs tears, puns and Twitter record

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