Fifa World Cup 2014: Third Place Play-Off: Brazil v Netherlands Preview

by SteveRogerson

Who will finish third in the World Cup? Who Cares? Brazil and Netherlands meet in the pointless third-place play-off on Saturday 12 July 2014.

Brasilia will host the 2014 Fifa World Cup third-place play-off match between host nation Brazil and the Netherlands. The losing semi-finalists are forced to play one more game before they can head home so that Fifa can declare someone has finished third. For Brazil, it will give them a chance to restore a little of their pride in front of the home fans after their humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany.

Brazil players salute their fans afetr the semi-final defeat
Brazil players salute their fans afetr the semi-final defeat
Photo from Fifa

When the players from Brazil and Netherlands walk out on to the pitch in Brasilia on Saturday 12 July 2014, one thing is certain is that all of them will wish they were not there but already back at home, for this is the third-place play-off, the most pointless game of the whole World Cup. The two losing semi-finalists have to play off for the dubious honour of finishing third.

Surely it is time for Fifa to wake up and scrap this game. Let the semi-final losers be declared joint third and save them from the embarrassment of playing out this match.

The only use, and it is a small use, is that both teams are likely to give a run out to some of the squad players who haven’t featured at all or very little in the competition so far. At least they will gain a cap and can say they played in the World Cup, but they will probably keep quiet about which match they actually played in when they tell their grandchildren.


Brazil’s Route to the Play-Off

Brazil won their group starting with a 3-1 victory over Croatia. They followed this with a dull goalless draw against Mexico before a relatively easy 4-1 destruction of Cameroon.

In the round of 16, they took the lead in the 18th minute through David Luiz but Chile equalised before half time to take the match into extra time. Chile nearly grabbed the glory seconds before the end of extra time when Mauricio Pinilla hit the bar. Brazil won the penalty shoot-out 3-2.

Thiago Silva put Brazil 1-0 up against Colombia after just seven minutes in the quarter finals. David Luiz then wacked in a screamer free kick with twenty minutes to go. Colombia did pull one back to keep the excitement going but it was too little too late.

All things seemed to be going to plan for the host nation until they came up against Germany in the semi-finals and found themselves 5-0 down within 30 minutes, leaving many home fans in shock. Germany went on to win 7-1.


Netherlands’ Route to the Play-Off

The Netherlands got off to an amazing start in their group games with a 5-1 thrashing of World Cup holders Spain. They then found themselves behind to little fancied Australia before rallying to win 3-2. They clinched their group with two late goals to beat Chile 2-0 in the final match.

They looked like they were going out of the tournament in the round of 16 went they went a goal down to Mexico, but Wesley Sneijder rocketed an equaliser on 88 minutes to unlock a tight Mexican defence and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar converted an injury-time penalty to send the Dutch through.

One of the strangest substitutions in World Cup history won Netherlands their quarter final against Costa Rica. The match was goalless and with penalties looking inevitable and seconds remaining on the clock, coach Louis van Graal took off goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen and replaced him with Tim Krul, who went on to save two of the five penalties to see the Dutch through 4-3.

The semi-final followed a similar goalless pattern but this time the Netherlands had used all three of their substitutes and so Cillessen had to face the penalty shoot-out and kept his record of never saving a penalty. Thus Argentina won the shoot-out 4-2.


Football Betting Odds for Netherlands vs Brazil

Early odds put Brazil narrow favourites to win this and give the home fans something to cheer about. Odds for a ninety-minute win by Brazil are about 5/4 or 11/8 with the Dutch out at 11/5. Odds for the draw are around 11/4.

Updated: 07/10/2014, SteveRogerson
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JoHarrington on 07/10/2014

I actually sat watching this last night, as I have three Dutch friends whom I speak to almost daily. It was a remarkably dull game, enlivened every now and again by someone recalling where the goal net was, even if they were very high or wide with their actual attempt.

But yes, I currently have three rather unhappy Dutch friends.

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