Sport

Dutch clinch third place with 3—0 win over miserable Brazil

Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar (R) fails to save Netherlands' midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum's (L) goal during the third place play-off football match between Brazil and Netherlands during the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the National Stadium in Brasilia on Saturday.

Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar (R) fails to save Netherlands' midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum's (L) goal during the third place play-off football match between Brazil and Netherlands during the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the National Stadium in Brasilia on Saturday.  

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The Netherlands clinched third place in the 2014 World Cup with a 3-0 crushing of Brazil on Saturday, adding to the hosts’ miserable finale to the tournament.

After their worst-ever World Cup defeat — a 7-1 drubbing against Germany in the semi-finals — a still shell-shocked Brazil side could not salvage the country’s pride at Brasilia’s Estadio Nacional, conceding two goals inside 17 minutes.

Robin Van Persie netted in the first with a penalty after just three minutes, while defender Daley Blind scored the second less than a quarter of an hour later. Substitute Georginio Wijnaldum clinched the Netherlands’ third during injury time.

This is the first time that the Dutch have ended a World Cup in third place, having lost in the 1974, 1978 and 2010 finals and in their only other battle for third place, against Croatia in 1998.

Brazil, by contrast, leave the tournament with their tails between their legs, having failed to win a World Cup on home soil for a second time and with a campaign that will always be remembered for their semi-final humiliation in Belo Horizonte.

For a game that neither would have wanted to play, it was to be expected that both coaches would make a number of changes to their starting lineups.

Brazil welcomed back captain Thiago Silva, who was sorely missed against Germany, but dropped left-back Marcelo and out-of-favour Fred, fielding Jo up front instead.

Louis Van Gaal had to do without creative midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who picked up a last-minute injury, and Nigel de Jong, replacing the pair with Jonathan De Guzman and Jordy Clasie.

Brazilian star Neymar joined his team-mates on the bench, despite being unable to play after fracturing a vertebra in the quarter-final game against Colombia.

Despite there being little to play for, Luiz Felipe Scolari had insisted before the game that his players should go out and “honour the national team jersey”. But despite pockets of encouragement from the stands, the hosts never looked like having a clear game plan and suffered a nightmare start to the game.

As the Dutch made their first attacking manoeuvre, Arjen Robben was served a wonderful deep ball from Van Persie and made a run for goal, only to be brought down by Thiago Silva. Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi awarded a penalty and booked Thiago Silva, despite the fact that the Brazilian captain could have been shown a red card for denying the Dutch winger a clear opportunity at goal.

In any event, captain Van Persie put the Dutch in front after just three minutes of play with a well-taken penalty kick to score his fourth goal of the tournament.

Less than a quarter of an hour passed before the hosts had conceded a second.

And yet again it was David Luiz, who had been singled out as one of the worst Brazilian players against Germany, who made another error.

This time it was his poor clearance that ended up delivering the ball on a plate to Blind, who had plenty of time to beat goalkeeper Julio Cesar with a comfortable finish from the centre of the area.

Still mindful of their semi-final drubbing, Brazil struggled to make an impact, although they came close in the 38th only for Paulinho and David Luiz to narrowly fail to connect with the ball following a flick by Luis Gustavo.

The end of the first half was greeted by jeers and boos from the crowd.

Scolari replaced Luiz Gustavo with Manchester City’s Fernandinho and also brought in Hernanes for Paulinho after the break, but it was the Dutch who continued to look the more threatening side, with Robben a constant thorn on Brazil’s right flank.

And despite plenty of good will, Brazil rarely looked like threatening a well-organized Dutch side and ended up conceding a third goal during injury time.

Brazil had come into the World Cup knowing that nothing less than a sixth title would satisfy the fans. Instead, they ended the campaign conceding a record number of goals - 14 - and their first consecutive home defeats since 1940.

For Van Gaal, it was a fitting final game at the helm of the Dutch national team. The master tactician has already signed a contract with Manchester United and can join the English club claiming that — excluding the penalty shoot-out against Argentina — his team left Brazil undefeated.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 5:07:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/dutch-clinch-third-place-with-30-win-over-miserable-brazil/article6205057.ece

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