This evening sees the World Cup third-place play-off between Brazil and Holland.
I think it is fair to say that both teams just want to get this game out of the way and move on. Both will want to forget their semi-finals exits, but for different reasons.
Brazil’s 7-1 thumping against Germany in the semi-final was truly shocking and it caused widespread despair and shame among the football proud Brazilians.
The nation was almost in morning after the Germany defeat and this game really is one they could do without.
Another defeat to a functional Dutch side would just add more misery for the Selecao fans and just raise the tensions in the South American country further.
However, the game could give the players that took part in that awful defeat the chance to earn some redemption. Whether the players are capable of achieving anything positive from this game remains to be seen.
A win in this game will provide a tiny crumb of comfort to those Brazil fans. Even that may be beyond the capabilities of the current Brazilian team, whose confidence now seems shot to pieces.
Speculation is bound that the play-off may be the last time that some of those Brazilian players are seen in their countries colours and that may not only be a blessing for the Brazilian football public, but also for the Brazilian football public.
Inept striker Fred seemed to bare the wrath of the Brazilian support when he was substituted against Germany. He was awful, but to be fair so were most of his teammates. He is what he is, a striker with limited capabilities. He never claimed to be Pele or Ronaldo.
The thumping at the hands of Germany showed that Brazilian football needs to make changes. The current Selecao team went into the World Cup with a few world-class players and a number of very average ones.
The likes of Neymar and Thiago Silva are the few world-class players’ currently in the national team and take them out and you get a terrible performance like the one produced against Germany.
Dutch fans must be wondering what might have happened if their team had attacked Argentina slightly more in the semi-final, after their team exited the competition on penalty kicks, following a tense 0-0 draw. Maybe then they would have been lining up against Germany on Sunday in the final. However, their defensive set-up was understandable considering who they were lining-up against.
Dutch boss Louis van Gaal has done a good job with his national side, but after his team’s World Cup exit his attention will turn to starting his new job at Manchester United next week. With Holland only playing for pride now I am sure the Dutch boss could have done without this game.
The experienced boss will be professional about the job in-hand, but he would not be human if he was not thinking about his new position, especially as the Oranje has little to play for now.
Van Gaal is very much a winner though and will want to leave his position as Holland boss on a high note.
Despite the fact they were hammered 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals, the Selecao are favourites to salvage a modicum of pride by winning the third-place play-off at odds of 11/10. In truth I think that is being slightly kind on the Brazilians.
Holland has not been fantastic, but they have the ability to cause Brazil a lot of problems. The return of leader Thiago Silva to the heart of their defence should mean that the Selecao are far more solid at the back.
Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari will no doubt make a number of changes to his starting line-up for this clash, with Chelsea pair Willian and Ramires likely to come into the starting line-up.
Neither of these teams would have wanted to be in this game prior to the semi-finals and I doubt either will be too thrilled to be taking part in it now.
However, this World Cup has been one of the best in living memory and hopefully both teams will want to give their fans a show. I hope for Brazilian fans sake it is not another horror show like the one in Belo Horizonte.
Will a win in the third-place play-off restore any pride for Brazil?
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