(Fixes typo in third par)
SANTA CRUZ CABRALIA, Brazil, July 9 (Reuters) - Brazilians in a northeastern town near Germany's training base adopted an "if you can't beat them, join them" approach to Tuesday's World Cup semi-final defeat by throwing their support behind the side that had thrashed them 7-1 just hours earlier.
Several hundred Brazilians waited for hours in the pouring rain to cheer the Germany players as they disembarked their team bus shortly after midnight and boarded a ferry for the crossing to their quarters in Santo Andre.
Many in the crowd chanted "Alemann, Alemann, Alemann" (Germany, Germany, Germany) amid raucous celebrations as fireworks lit up the night sky and revellers ignored the showers that threatened to dampen the party atmosphere.
"We just like the way Germany play - all the creative goals and all the great passing they do," said Breno Antunes, one of the scores of police officers keeping watch over the bus and players on the short journey to the ferry.
"If Brazil's not in the World Cup anymore, at least there's one team still in it that play like Brazil."
The Germans have been generally well received by those gathered to watch the regular ferry crossings but locals greeted the players with a resounding chant of "Brasilia, Brasilia, Brasilia" on Monday when they departed for their semi-final against the hosts.
However, any fears that locals would turn on Germany coach Joachim Loew and his players following Brazil's humiliating loss in Belo Horizonte proved unfounded as the weary-looking victors were greeted as heroes by an enthusiastic crowd.
"I very much like Germany," said Jose Amilton, a 32-year-old flight instructor who was leading the celebrations at the ferry crossing. "They play so well, they pass the ball and they're so fast. They play like Brazil used to." (Editing by John O'Brien)