Third place play-off match
Effectively a bronze medal game where the losing team gets a certificate that many believe should never take place was contested by the Netherlands and Brazil in Brasilia on the eve of the match the footballing world is waiting for. I suppose one could argue it’s an appetizer for the final but the truth is probably closer to just another ticket sales opportunity for FIFA.
Anyway, let’s talk football.
Brazil were hoping to bounce back from the football lesson dished out by Germany in the semi-final and the Dutch were hoping to find their scoring touch which had abandoned them in the last few games.
Scolari made 6 changes including bringing back Silva from suspension while Van Gaal was forced to bring De Guzman on for Sneijder who suffered a hamstring pull in the pre-game warm-up.
Silva almost immediately cost his team with a blatant tug on Robben as Van Persie nudged a ball through on the diagonal for Robben to run onto. Silva reached out as Robben approached the penalty area and pulled him down mid-stride. The Dutchman crashed into the penalty area and the kick was duly awarded.
Brazil supporters will argue that first contact was outside the box but should condone themselves with the knowledge that the referee was lenient on Silva who, by all accounts, should have gone for a shower as early as the 2nd minute of the game.
Van Persie dispatched the kick into the top right corner getting the Dutch off to a flying start. David Luiz’s miserable World Cup continued on a personal level when he headed an uncontested clearance back towards the penalty spot for Daley Blind to calmly put the ball in the back of the net in the 17th minute.
The second period offered little. Oscar was booked for simulation and the Dutch scored a third on 90 minutes. Van Gaal gave an unlikely cap to the third goalkeeper in the squad, Michel Vorm, also on 90 minutes so that every member of the squad had at least one appearance at the finals.
Highlight of the fixture is probably Van Persie giving his captain’s armband and medal to one of the loyal Dutch fans.