FIFA World Cup: Brazil vs. Netherlands
Third place in the 2014 FIFA World Cup is up for grabs Saturday as beaten semifinalists Brazil and the Netherlands meet in Brasília.
Kickoff at the Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. ET.
While third place may come with little consolation for two sides with much bigger aspirations, the third place playoff actually holds a widespread importance, at least for one of the sides involved.
For the Brazilian soccer team, this World Cup was meant to be the latest moment of glory in a long and illustrious timeline of international success. A 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany on Tuesday put paid to that particular line of thought.
Now, having failed to secure the prestigious championship in its own backyard for the second time, anything less than a win on Saturday will mean unrivaled failure for Brazil. To lose not once but twice on home soil – where the team had not lost a match prior to Tuesday in 39 years – is simply unacceptable.
For the Netherlands, Saturday’s match holds little appeal.
Having savored the taste of a penalty shootout victory against Costa Rica, the Netherlands were forced to taste shootout defeat too, as the side played out a 0-0 draw with Argentina on Wednesday.
World Cup glory continues to elude the Dutch, who are three-time beaten finalists, most recently in 2010. Having fallen a hurdle earlier this year, the side will simply be counting the hours until it’s able to fly back to Europe.
Manager Louis Van Gaal – counting down the minutes until he begins his new gig at Manchester United – told reporters this week that the third place playoff was “pointless”. His players might not agree, although their defensive-minded performances during the knockout stages of this tournament suggest they’re unlikely to put 100 percent into dispatching the Brazilians on Saturday.
Saturday’s game marks the fourth time Brazil and the Netherlands have met in the World Cup tournament.
The Oranje emerged with a 2-0 victory in the second round of the 1974 tournament, and a 2-1 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2010 event in South Africa.
The Selecao took a 3-2 win in a 1994 quarterfinal played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, before winning on penalties four years later in France.
All told, the two sides have met 11 times, with Brazil winning three times, the Netherlands three times, and five games finishing in a draw.
In terms of lineups, Brazil will welcome back captain Thiago Silva, who missed the 7-1 defeat to Germany this past week. He might not have been able to steer the side to victory had he played in that game, but you have to think he would have kept the score down.
For manager Luiz Filipe Scolari, who will look to restore pride in the home nation, Saturday’s must-win game means he’ll likely stick with the crux of the lineup he’s (rightly or wrongly) played all tournament. In fairness, Hulk and Fred are too players that should start on the bench, but they’ve been staples of the side so far.
Brazil’s superstar Neymar will miss the game through injury.
The Netherlands has a full squad to choose from and it remains to be seen if Van Gaal plays his regular lineup in a bid to win, or if his fringe players are given a run out.
The weather forecast list sunshine and temperatures of 24 degrees Celsius (75F).
Brazil (+110) is a narrow favorite to take the third place playoff ahead of the Netherlands (+220), with a draw considered +280.
Brazil has featured in three third place playoff games in their history, earning wins in 1938 and 1978, but losing in 1974.
The Netherlands was unsuccessful in its only other appearance in the game, losing to Croatia in 1998.
The over/under on Bovada’s main line sits at 3.
In 11 head-to-head matches, the two sides have averaged 2.73 goals per game.
Brazil has averaged 1.83 goals per game this tournament, and allowed 1.83 goals per game.
The Netherlands has averaged 2 goals per game, although the side has scored no goals in its last two games. The side has allowed 0.67 goals per game during the tournament.
On Sunday, the 2014 FIFA World Cup draws to its conclusion with the final between Germany and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro. Betting Sports will bring you a preview on the morning of the game.
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