World Cup 2014: Day 30
Brazil will be keen to salvage some pride as they take on the Netherlands in the third place play-off in Brasília on Saturday night. There is still no logical explanation to the manner in which they capitulated in their semi-final clash against Germany, including 4 goals in 7 minutes of a shocking first half performance. The host nation found themselves 1-0 down after 11 minutes, and had barely had time to recover when Miroslav Klose added a second in the 23rd minute. To add insult to injury, the record breaking goal meant Klose surpassed Brazilian legend Ronaldo as the top scorer in the World Cup. A quick double from Kroos and another from Khedira saw Brazil 5-0 down in under half an hour. After the break Schürrle added a double before his Chelsea team mate Oscar salvaged some pride for Brazil with a late goal. The tournament had began so well for the hosts, as they beat Croatia 3-1 on the opening day, before a 0-0 draw against Mexico followed. The final group game saw a 4-1 victory over Cameroon, and a double from Neymar took his tally to 4 and had a nation believing that Brazil could triumph on their home soil. In the second round, Scolari’s side came up against a well organised Chile, and despite an early lead from David Luiz the game ended up going to penalties, Brazil eventually winning the shoot out 3-2. In the quarter finals, they faced another South American side in surprise package Colombia, a match which saw two of the stars of the tournament, Neymar and James Rodríguez squaring off against each other. Thiago Silva gave Brazil an early lead, but then picked up a yellow card that would see him miss the semi-final. There was further disappointment when Neymar came off injured, although at that time Brazil were in the lead 2-1 and held on to secure a semi final spot. Without Thiago Silva and Neymar, however, the game went anything but to plan as Brazil were simply outplayed by a far better, more organised team. The one bonus for the host nation is that Thiago Silva will at least be available again after suspension.
The Netherlands made their mark early on in the competition when they produced a fantastic performance to beat current World and European champions Spain 5-1 in their opening game. Robben and Van Persie both claimed a double that day, and the duo were both on target again in a 3-2 victory over Australia in the second game, with youngster Memphis Depay securing the win for the Dutch. Louis Van Gaal’s side ended the group with a perfect record as they overcame Chile 2-0 in the final game, Leroy Fer and Depay again grabbing the goals. The last 16 saw them face Mexico in Fortaleza, and despite going 1-0 down in the 48th minute, late goals from Wesley Sneijder and a last minute penalty by Huntelaar secured a quarter final berth. In Salvador, Costa Rica came up against surprise package Costa Rica, and despite 120 minutes of football neither side was able to break the deadlock. Van Gaal sent on Newcastle keeper Tim Krul for the shoot-out, and it appeared a master stroke as he saved 2 penalties to send his side through. The Dutch again failed to hit the target in their semi-final clash, and without Krul, after they had already made 3 substitutions, Cillessen was unable to repeat the heroics as they crashed out of the tournament. They must now hope to salvage some pride in what will be Van Gaal’s final game before he leaves his post as national team manager to take over at Old Trafford. Last time the two met back in 2011 the game ended goalless, while in the 2010 World Cup, Holland were 2-1 winners thanks to a double from Sneijder. The last time Brazil triumphed was way back in 99, aS they won 3-1 in a friendly. It’s tough to call who will win, but with both teams looking to end on a high, and not being as defensively minded, I expect a far more open game and so am just going for both teams to score in this one.Share this: