BRASïLIA: Brazil’s traumatic World Cup ended with more pain on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as they lost 3-0 to a superior Netherlands side in the third-place playoff at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia.
Still struggling to digest their record-breaking 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-finals, Brazil had a similarly disastrous start against the Dutch, with Robin van Persie opening the scoring from the penalty spot inside three minutes.
With injured star Neymar watching on from the bench, Daley Blind then capitalised on more calamitous defending to make it 2-0 with 17 minutes played, and Georginio Wijnaldum rubbed salt into the hosts’ wounds by adding a third in injury time.
Brazil have now lost back-to-back home games for the first time since 1940, and they end the tournament having conceded 14 goals altogether, the most of any side at a World Cup since 1986 and the most ever for a host team.
In contrast, Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands leave with the consolation of taking third place and end the competition unbeaten, with their semi-final exit against Argentina only coming after a penalty shoot-out.
Dutch forward Arjen Robben said: “It was a great end—you can get rid of a bit of the shock of not going to the final, but not completely. The disappointment stays, we’ve been so close. We deserved more. I’m finished. I’ve given everything. We’ve come so close. That’s why the third place is so deserved. I’m so proud of this team, compliments to them.”
The day had not started well for Holland, who saw playmaker Wesley Sneijder withdraw at the last minute due to an injury suffered in the warm-up, with Jonathan de Guzman replacing him in the starting line-up.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari had made six changes to his team following the Germany debacle, with one seeing captain Thiago Silva make his return after suspension.
The absence of Silva, along with that of Neymar, was a contributing factor in the semi-final humiliation, but the usually inspirational centre-back was at fault as Brazil conceded a penalty with less than two minutes played.
Silva was caught the wrong side of Robben as the winger latched onto a pass from Holland captain van Persie and was left with a clear path on goal.
Messi eyes glory as Argentina, Germany set for World Cup final
Lionel Messi will attempt to emulate his idol Diego Maradona here Sunday as he leads Argentina into battle against Germany in a heavyweight World Cup final pitting Europe against South America.
Rio de Janeiro’s famous Maracana Stadium is the setting for the eagerly anticipated final, which kicks off on Sunday (Monday in Manila) in front of 73,500 fans and an estimated global televi-sion audience of around one billion.
Germany, riding a wave of momentum following their 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the semi-finals, start as favorites to become the first side from Europe ever to win a World Cup in Latin America.