World Cup 2014: Winners and Losers from Brazil vs. the Netherlands
For Brazil fans, Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup third-place play-off will only have amplified the disappointment and embarrassment of Tuesday’s 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany.
And like that semi-final disaster, it was clear from the outset that the host nation had neither the ability nor mental fortitude for the occasion.
It took the Dutch just three minutes to open the scoring, and thanks to some more defensive errors on the part of the Selecao they were able to add a pair more by the time the final whistle was blown in Brasilia.
Individually and collectively, there were many winners and losers from the match. Following are just a few.
Winner: Daley Blind, Who Opened His International Goalscoring Account
Daley Blind has a long and likely illustrious career ahead of him at both club and international level.
On Saturday, the 24-year-old Dutchman scored his first goal for his country—stroking the ball into the back of the net following David Luiz’s horrendous attempt at a defensive header.
Blind, whose father Danny is a Netherlands assistant, enjoyed a terrific World Cup and, according to the Daily Mirror, could be a transfer target of Manchester United this summer.
Loser: David Luiz, Whose Week Only Got Worse
David Luiz was captain for a day against Germany in Tuesday’s semi-final, and given the 7-1 drubbing he and his teammates experienced it’s not something he’ll look back on fondly.
The Brazil defender was at least partially responsible for each of Germany’s first five goals in Belo Horizonte, and his performance on Saturday against the Netherlands was similarly abysmal.
In the third minute he was AWOL as Arjen Robben skipped into the goalmouth before being hauled to the ground by Thiago Silva, and shortly after the quarter-hour mark his woeful header was converted into goal by Daley Blind.
Winner: Manchester United, Who Can’t Wait for Louis van Gaal to Arrive
Louis van Gaal was the undisputed star of the Netherlands’ entry at the 2014 World Cup, and he made sure to let everyone know just how smart he was following wins over Mexico (when he made tactical adjustments during the cooling breaks, according to the BBC) and Costa Rica (when he swapped goalkeepers for the penalty shootout, as per Metro).
Next up for the Dutchman will be a switch to Manchester United, and after the miracles he worked in Brazil, he’ll no doubt be expected to turn the Red Devils around in short order.
And should he do so, you can bet he’ll take the majority of the credit.
Loser: Wesley Sneijder, Who Didn’t Get to Take a Shot at Johnny Rep’s Record
Wesley Sneijder’s World Cup ended in Saturday’s pre-match warm-up, when he limped off the pitch with a hamstring injury, according to the Daily Mirror.
With six World Cup goals in his career, he had arrived in Brasilia needing only one to equal Johnny Rep’s all-time mark for the Netherlands.
At 30 years of age, it’s unlikely he’ll be in Russia for the 2018 tournament.
Winner: The Netherlands, Who Didn’t Lose in Normal Time at This World Cup
They may have had to play an unwanted third-place play-off, but at the final whistle in Brasilia the Netherlands exited the World Cup without a single defeat.
After hammering Spain 5-1 to open their campaign, they edged Australia 3-2 before topping their group with a 2-0 win over Chile.
Then, in the knockout rounds, they beat Mexico and Costa Rica before bowing out to Argentina on penalties following a 0-0 draw.
"We’ve scored 15 goals over this campaign and I think that it’s unfair that we went out," coach Louis van Gaal said, per FIFA.com. "Even so, we had a fantastic tournament. I’m proud of my team and my staff."
The Dutch were worthy semi-finalists, commendable third-place finishers and did themselves proud at the competition.
Loser: Djamel Haimoudi, Who Bottled It
Thiago Silva was the last man back when Arjen Robben dashed into the Brazil goalmouth, and when the Selecao defender pulled the Dutch attacker to the ground, he should have been shown a red card.
He was presented a yellow by referee Djamel Haimoudi, who also failed to notice that the foul had taken place outside the 18-yard box.
It was a poor series of decisions from the Algerian, and they’ll now be chalked up alongside the Claudio Marchisio ejection, Neymar penalty and numerous blown offsides in an unfortunate compilation of officiating gaffes.
Winner: Georginio Wijnaldum, Who Capped off a Fine World Cup with a Goal
Georginio Wijnaldum was one of the Netherlands’ unsung heroes at the 2014 World Cup.
He was at his best against Argentina, when he often dropped into the defense to keep track of Lionel Messi, but on Saturday his most notable contribution was at the other end of the pitch.
In the first minute of second-half stoppage time, the PSV Eindhoven midfielder turned Daryl Janmaat’s cross into goal for his side’s third of the encounter.
Having opened his international account against San Marino back in 2011, the 23-year-old now has two goals from 13 matches for his country.
Loser: 68,000 Fans in Brasilia, Who Were Let Down by Their Team
It’s fair to say that many of the more than 68,000 fans who went through the turnstiles at Estadio Nacional on Saturday would have rather been somewhere else. Or at least getting ready to watch a different matchup.
That Brazil were involved in the third-place play-off was disappointing enough, and the result will have only intensified the disillusionment.
The World Cup’s host nation made the same mistakes that cost them so dearly against Germany in the semi-final—gifting the opposition quality scoring chances through defensive errors and continuously giving the ball away in key areas.
The end of Brazil’s campaign was so poor it came almost as a relief.
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