2014 World Cup Brazil: Brazil v Netherlands

By on July 12, 2014

Hosts Brazil will face the Netherlands in the 3rd place play-off on Saturday night as both sides look to end the tournament on a high after losing the semifinal matches. This will be the 12th clash between Brazil and the Netherlands (W3, D5, L3) and the fifth in World Cup finals. Their last World Cup meeting was in the 2010 World Cup quarter finals where Brazil lost the game owing to a 2-1 scoreline depsite opening the scoring.

Brazil being the host nation were the favorites to win this World Cup but a desastrous performance against Germany in the semi finals sees them now fighting for a 3rd place finish. Regardless of what happens in this game, there’s no doubt that this can be regarded as one of the most horrific World Cup performances by the Selecao in recent times. They managed to reach the semi finals and took down some very dangerous sides on their way but their performance in the game against Germany was far beyond what is expected of title challengers. The game got off to a good start with both sides creating half chances in the early minutes. However, it did not take long for the Germans to open the scoring. Thomas Muller found himself completely unmarked during a corner kick, in the 11th minute of the game and found the back of the net from close range. All was well upto that mark as it was expected to be a free scoring game. However, it all went south for the Brazilians from there as they conceded four more goals before half time to essentially eliminate their hopes of any recovery. But that wasn’t all as the Germans started off the same way they ended the 1st half and scored twice in the 2nd half as well to take their lead to 7 goals. Brazil did manage to score a concellation in the 90th minute of the game when Oscar found some space and managed to beat Neuer. It was a disastrous evening for the hosts and one of their most humiliating defeats in a World Cup game.

Thiago Silva was suspended for the game against Germany and his leadership qualities were clearly missed in that game. There was no organization in defence and the center back pairing of Dante and Luiz had no answer to the German attacks. Experts have criticized Thiago Silva for letting his team down by receiving a silly and unnecessary yellow card against Colombia but most doubt whether the PSG centerback’s presence would have made much of a difference on the result. Brazil had no creativity in midfield, no organization in defence and hardly managed to string their passes together. They are up against a Dutch side that demolished Spain in their opening game and Brazil might have a very long evening on their hands if Scolari fails to introduce some discipline in his side.

Thiago Silva recently told the media that Brazil will play this game as if it were the World Cup final and Scolari’s side can be expected to attack from the get go as they would like to produce an entertaining display in front of their home fans and end the disappointing tournament on a high.

Brazil have conceded the most goals in the current World Cup campaign (11). The last time they conceded 11 was in 1938 and they’ve never conceded more than 11. Brazil had eight in the 7-1 loss versus Germany. This will be Brazil’s fourth appearance in the third place game, but their first since 1978. Brazil have won two and lost one of their three previous appearances in the third place match. Against Germany, Brazil conceded just 11 fouls while conceding 31 against Colombia in the quarter-final. The injured Neymar (13) is the only player who created more goalscoring chances for Brazil than Marcelo (10).

Netherlands have had an excellent performance in this World Cup considering the strength of their squad and how they were missing some key players for this tournament. It was a side that many predicted would not get past the group stages and when they did, most tipped them to get knocked out early on. However, despite the media suggestions, Louis van Gaal’s side managed to make it to the semi finals where they lost out to Argentina only on penalties. It was a tightly fought game, unlike the other semi final between Brazil and Germany, with both sides failing to break the deadlock despite a few chances coming either way. Dutch winger Arjen Robben had a glorious chance to win the game for Netherlands in injury time but an extra touch with the ball at his feet allowed Javier Mascherano to intercept the ball and take the game to extra time. Neither side were able to break the deadlock in extra time either and the game went on to penalties. Argentina’s Sergio Romero was the hero of the night as he saved two of the Dutch penalties to win the game for Argentina. Louis van Gaal could not manage to inspire his side to win their second successive penalty shootout.

With a squad consisting of young players, mostly from the Dutch Eredivise the Netherlands were never favorites to win the World Cup by any means. The fact that they have made it this far into the tournament is an example of how well they have played together as a group and how Louis van Gaal’s tactical brilliance has taken effect. Although a place in their second successive World Cup final would have been an exceptional achievement, making it to the semi finals and then fighting for the 3rd place playoff is not a smaller one either. They have nothing to fear in this game and unlike Brazil who have to face their home fans and play to their satisfaction, the Dutch have no such issue and an attacking display is expected from them in this game. It is highly unlikely that Louis van Gaal will revert back to his traditional 4-3-3 for this game but they will play on the offensive and will not just sit back to play on the counter. They are unbeaten in this tournament so far and will fight hard to maintain that record.

For the second time after 1974 and 1978, the Netherlands will finish in the top four in two consecutive World Cups. The Dutchmen had scored 12 goals in their opening four games but failed to find the net in both the quarter-final and the semi-final, despite both matches going to extra-time. The Netherlands have lost five of seven penalty shoot-outs in World Cups and European Championships. Oranje will appear in their second third place game (1998 1-2 loss v Croatia). 10 of the Netherlands’ 12 goals in this tournament have come after half-time; the last four have come after the 75th minute. In the semi-final, the Dutchmen attempted just seven shots (incl blocked) in 120 minutes – in all of their previous World Cup matches since 1966, they had managed at least 10 shots. Netherlands had just one shot on target in the semi-final. Only Karim Benzema (15) has had more shots on target than Robin van Persie (10) in this World Cup; but the Dutchman is yet to score in the knockout stages.

Brazil will be without star forward Neymar for this game as well after he fractured a vertebra in the quarter final against Colombia. His absence was a real reason behind Brazil not managing to take the game to the Germans and Bernard who replaced him in that game is likely to sit this one out after an unimpressive display. Willian will most likely come into the starting XI in his place. Thiago Silva makes a return to the side after serving a suspension in the last game. The captain will regain his spot in the team in place of Dante. Scolari is expected to drop striker Fred for this game after his dismal performance in the last game and atletico Minieiro striker Jo will likely replace him.

The Netherlands don’t have any real injury concerns ahead of this game. Ron Vlaar who had an impressive game against Argentina in the semi final is doubtful for this game and may not feature. Veltman is expected to replace him in the line-up. Nigel De Jong will again drop to the bench and Jordy Clasi who came on as a substitute in the semi finals is expected to start. Martins Indi might be dropped to the becnh after he failed to impress in the game against Argentina and the versatile Blind could replace him at the back. Louis van Gaal is set to hand Michael Vorm a start as well in a bid to allow all his players to gain World Cup experience.

DATE: July 12, 2014


VENUE: Estadio Nacional de Brasilia, Brasilia, Distrito Federal

REFEREE: D. Haimoudi

Brazil (4-2-3-1):- Cesar; Marcelo, Luiz, Silva, Maicon; Gustavo, Fernandinho; Willian, Oscar, Hulk; Fred
Netherlands (3-4-1-2):- Vorm; Blind, Veltman, Vrij; Kuyt, Clasie, Wijnaldum, Janmaat; Sneijder; Robben, van Persie

Brazil:- 1-7 vs Germany
Netherlands:- 0-0 vs Argentina

AUTHOR’s PREDICTION: Brazil 2-0 Netherlands

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