World Cup 2014: Day 32

The Netherlands heaped further misery on Brazil last night as they claimed third spot with a convincing 3-0 win. The host nation were still reeling from the 7-1 mauling by Germany in the semi-finals, and in the opening 3 minutes it went from bad to worse when they conceded a penalty. Robin Van Persie fed threw Arjen Robben, and when Thiago Silva hauled him back the referee had no option but to act. Replays show the offense took place outside the area, but that being said everyone was left scratching their heads as the PSG man only saw a yellow card for the offence, as he was clearly the last man. Van Persie stepped up to fire home confidently from the spot, setting the majority of the crowd into further panic. After 16 minutes it went from bad to worse as they home nation once again shot themselves in the foot with some poor defending. David Luiz was once again the guilty party, as so often in that semi-final annihilation, when he headed the ball straight back into the danger area rather than clearing to safety. The ball fell straight to the feet of Daley Blind, who took a touch before claiming his first ever international goal for the Netherlands.

Brazil seemed to once again capitulate as they offered minimal threat on Cillessen’s goal, several star players seeming happier to throw themselves to the ground rather than look for the advantage. Oscar tested the Dutch keeper with one such free kick, but no-one was there at the far post to head home. After the break Scolari threw on Fernandinho for Luis Gustavo, in what was shaping up to possibly be his last game in charge of the national team. Within minutes of his introduction, the Manchester City man picked up a booking when he went clattering into Van Persie, while fellow substitute Hernanes was lucky not to follow suit after a clumsy challenge on Robben. Oscar continued to probe for the hosts, and when he found Chelsea team-mate Ramires in the box, Villa defender Ron Vlaar did just enough to see the midfielder drag his effort wide. Vlaar was then involved again as he appeared to handle a Maicon cross, but the referee waved away the appeals.

The referee was then the centre of attention again a few minutes later when he booked Chelsea man Oscar for a dive after he went down under the challenge from Blind. To be fair to the referee he immediately produced the card, but replays show that had Oscar not gone to ground too easily, they may well have had a good shout. For his part in the incident, Blind was unable to recover and was stretchered off. At the other end, the Dutch then had another penalty shout themselves when Robben went to ground under a challenge from Fernandinho, although on that occassion the Algerian referee got it right as the Bayern man went down way too easily. The Netherlands seemed happy to keep possession and play the game out, much to the frustration of Brazil and their fans, although at the end they extended their lead further after a good run from Daryl Janmaat. The Feyenoord full-back broke clear down the right before cutting the ball back to Wijnaldum, who made no mistake in firing home. The result saw Louis Van Gaal sign off in style in his last game in charge of the national team, as he now heads off to pastures new to take charge of Manchester United, while many will be wondering just how much longer his counterpart Scolari can remain in post after the country’s collapse in form.

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Massive technology geek Former runner looking to rediscover two working knees Ex Personal trainer currently looking to escape self imposed fitness exile Manchester City season ticket holder until 1998 & again from 2002 to present Atlético Madrid season ticket holder 1999-2001 & still follow from afar Love creative writing, and former journalist for Opta Soccer, Planetfootball & Sky Sports Former games tester, researcher and designer for Gremlin Interactive, Infogrames & Dinamic Multimedia

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