Oscar, the third of Chelsea's Brazilian trio, Paris-Saint Germain's Lucas Moura and playmaker Paulinho of Club World Cup winners Corinthians all struggled to live up to their lofty billing.
But most worrying of all was the performance of Neymar.
If Ronaldinho is yesterday's hero, the Santos schemer has long had the billing of today's A Selecao shining star.
Yet the Mohican-clad attacker was subdued throughout - as he had been in Brazil's Olympic final defeat by Mexico in August at Wembley -- struggling to shake off the stubborn defensive work of England right back Glen Johnson.
So if Brazil are to lift the World Cup next year, the player widely regarded as the third best in the world behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will have to lift his game considerably.
"It did not go as I had expected or wanted," the 21-year-old Neymar told reporters. "I would have liked to help the team more, but today was not my day. Next time."
Wednesday's defeat might stir memories of the last time Brazil hosted the World Cup in 1950.
Needing just a draw to be crowned world champions in the final game of the tournament, Brazil lost 2-1 to Uruguay and missed out on a first World Cup triumph -- an event referred to by playwright Nelson Rodrigues as "our Hiroshima".
That loss scarred Brazilian society -- a similar failure next year is unimaginable.
"Our chances of winning the World Cup are big," said Brazil's Bayern Munich defender Dante. "That's our mentality, that's what we are focused on. In our heads we can't go there and think if we finish second or third that's enough.
"The fans will be very important. You can expect every game to be 60,000, 70,000 people together with us, and we are going to use their emotion to make us stronger on the pitch.
"We have great players who are used to pressure and our motivation is really high."
Ramires was is similarly defiant mood.
"We are going to be ready," said Chelsea midfielder. "We are going in to win the World Cup."