Brazil v Netherlands Preview

Third Place Play-off | Saturday July 12 | Estádio Nacional de Brasilia | 22:00




Disfigured Brazil take on the best team never to win a World Cup in the loser’s final. The hosts were humiliated by the Germans 7-1 in their semi-final clash in Belo Horizonte while the Netherlands were hard done-by losing 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out against Argentina. The non-event takes place at the Estadio Nacional de Brasilia and both teams will be expected to make lots of changes.

To Win (90mins)
Brazil 12/10
Draw 5/2
Netherlands 2/1

BRAZIL

Brazil's heavy defeat to Germany Tuesday night was a shocking setback for world football's most successful team and a soul-crushing blow for a nation of 200 million that loves this sport more than any other.

It marked the culmination of a steady decline that has left international football's most iconic team looking like a dinosaur in the modern game.

The Brazilians didn't invent soccer, but from 1958 to 1970, they pretty much perfected it.

During that period, Brazil won the World Cup three times and did so while playing a graceful, free-flowing game that remains the benchmark for the rest of the world.

But the dazzling brand of soccer played by Pele, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho has since become a burden.

Brazil's focus on individual skill and spontaneity is increasingly at odds with the disciplined, pass-and-move style of modern soccer.

Despite possessing the ball for 52% of Tuesday's game, Brazil created barely a handful of chances. In contrast, Germany passed the ball at full speed to create holes in the defence and clinically took advantage.

The Brazilians were a huge disappointment for all lovers of football, they did not look convincing since they first kicked off the tournament against Croatia.

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s tactics and even team selection have been just as shocking as their 7-1 thrashing.

To leave out a player of high quality such as Daniel Alves who is undoubtedly the best right-back in Spain (where he plays his club football) and arguably the world raises many questions.

Another player who had limited game time was Chelsea playmaker Willian. He was expected to come into the side in place of the injured Neymar but ‘Big Phil’ saw something brilliant in the uninspiring Bernard.

Brazil will be hoping to move forward but are more than likely to take two steps back unless Scolari gets his combinations right. 

NETHERLANDS

The Netherlands’ World Cup championship dreams have been shelved for another four years after Argentina beat the Dutch in penalties.

After Louis van Gaal's decision to bring on Tim Krul in place of regular goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen for the penalty shootout of Netherlands' quarter-final win over Costa Rica, the majority of the focus was on the Ajax stopper.

It was, however, his opposite number, Sergio Romero, who stole the show. The Argentine proved to be the difference between the sides in the shootout, saving from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder to see Argentina through to their first World Cup final in 24 years.

A number of younger players have been brought into the Dutch setup since the 2010 World Cup, but five of the first eleven on Wednesday also started in the defeat to Spain.

Arjen Robben (30), Dirk Kuyt (33), Nigel de Jong (29), Robin Van Persie (30) and Sneijder (30) are all around the same age, and it would be surprising if many of them are heavily involved in Russia in four years' time.

Euro 2016 in France is likely to represent the last chance of tournament success for the quintet. Robben has been the Netherlands' most potent attacking threat throughout the tournament and will be Brazil’s biggest concern.

One of the main reasons the Dutch could not break Argentina down was because of van Persie's profligacy.

The Manchester United striker has been curiously quiet for the Dutch in recent matches since his wonder goal against Spain in the opening match.

Van Gaal should make a few changes to his squad with Klaas Jan Huntelaar expected to be involved from the start as well as the impressive Memphis Depay.

Netherlands will be hoping to avoid further disappointment by getting the bronze and are more than likely to do so.

Betting Prediction: NETHERLANDS 2/1
Brazil are favourites at 12/10 with the Dutch valued at 2/1. Scolari will be poised to make changes to his squad and may opt to start Willian, Ramires and Alves who will freshen things up. This match could go either way but Netherlands should have enough to beat a vulnerable Brazil side. 

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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