By Gideon Long
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, July 8 (Reuters) - Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said watching his side being crushed 7-1 by Germany in their World Cup semi-final was the worst day of his life as they suffered the most humiliating result in their illustrious soccer history.
"If I were to think of my life as a footballer, as a coach, as a physical education teacher, I think it was the worst day of my life," Scolari told a news conference on Tuesday.
"I'm going to be remembered probably because I lost 7-1, the worst defeat in Brazil's history, but that was a risk I knew I was running when I walked into this position."
It was only the second time that Brazil had lost by six goals and the first was back in 1920. It was by far their biggest defeat at a World Cup.
"I ask the Brazilian people, please excuse us for this negative mistake. I'm sorry that we couldn't get to the final," Scolari said.
"My message for the Brazilian people and fans is that we tried to do what we could, we lost to a great team who had the skill to end the game in just six or seven minutes with four goals."
After taking an early lead, the Germans tore Brazil apart with four goals in six minutes midday through the first half, ending the match as a contest before halftime.
Scolari described the result as "catastrophic" and "terrible" but tried to sound upbeat as he spoke to reporters, insisting several times that "life goes on".
"We lost one match to a great team. When we spoke to them (the Germans) after the match, they said, 'Even we don't know how this happened, five shots, five goals.'"
Scolari said he took responsibility for the defeat but the pain would be shared by the entire squad.
"I think everyone blanked out after the first goal," he said. "There was a lack of control... We got into a little bit of panic and everything went well for them and badly for us.
"They had their best match of the World Cup and we had our worst. That was the difference."
Scolari said he had no regrets about his team selection and that it would have made no difference if his injured striker Neymar had been able to play.
"I don't think there's any reason for anyone to suppose that with Neymar it would have been different. Let's not try to find an excuse in Neymar," he said.
"You have those four, five, six minutes of trouble and Germany made use of those minutes. That has nothing to do with Neymar."
Brazil will face either the Netherlands or Argentina in a third-place playoff match in Brasilia on Saturday - a meagre consolation prize for the hosts and pre-tournament favourites.
"Life doesn't end with this defeat," Scolari said. (Reporting by Gideon Long; editing by Ken Ferris)