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2014 World Cup: Netherlands ease past Brazil to claim third place

Netherlands celebrate victory over Brazil in third placed play-off. Photo: BBC

celebrate victory over in third placed play-off. Photo: BBC

The Netherlands dominated Brazil in a 3-0 win to claim third place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

In the third place playoff, tournament hosts Brazil lost 0-3 to a Netherlands side that had gone into the encounter looking like they couldn’t care less about the outcome. Netherlands manager van Gaal had expressed his lack of interest in the match the day before, and his statement caused some controversy among fans around the globe.

Nevertheless, he sent an almost unchanged lineup onto the pitch at the Estádio Nacional de Brasilia, with only Sneijder and de Jong missing through injury. Brazil welcomed captain Thiago Silva back into the lineup, after the PSG centre-back sat out the 1-7 semi-final loss to Germany.

The Brazilians were keen to make amends for their horror show against Germany last week, but got off to the worst possible start as Silva fouled a goal-bound Robben inside 90 seconds, and the referee wrongly pointed to the spot; replays showed that contact had occurred outside the penalty area, but Silva was nevertheless lucky to get away with just a yellow card.

Robin van Persie stepped up to take the resulting penalty, and swept it into the corner, just inches away from Julio Cesar’s flailing arm. A repeat of the previous result suddenly looked like a possibility, as the hosts struggled to create any danger in the opposition half, and the Oranje doubled their lead in the 17th minute.

A tame cross was erroneously headed towards the penalty spot by David Luiz – who has been widely criticized for his recent performances – and Ajax left-back Daley Blind was free to control the ball and blast it past Cesar. The remainder of the game saw both sides create several chances, but the final touch was always lacking.

Oscar was denied an obvious penalty later into the second half, as Blind looked to have stepped on his foot inside the penalty area, but the referee instead decided to book the Chelsea midfielder for diving. This was the first yellow for simulation in this edition of the World Cup, and Oscar was furious with the officials’ decision.

The Netherlands started to threaten again in the final minutes of the match, and Brazil did not heed the warning signs; substitute Janmaat raced towards the byline and his cutback was pounced upon by midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum; the 23-year old midfielder made no mistake from ten yards to score his side’s third goal, which was also the 14th goal conceded by Brazil in the tournament, a record.

Features Editor - Wadi Degla fan (a.k.a. a masochist). Intrigued by stats, and partial to underdogs.

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