Any chance host nation Brazil had of salvaging the 2014 World Cup was quickly dashed in the first 18 minutes against the Netherlands Saturday. The Dutch would score two quick goals to claim their first ever third place finish in World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Selecao at the Nacional in Brasilia.
Amid an overwhelming sea of Brazilian supporters donning yellow around the arena, Brazil couldn’t muster any semblance of an attack and their back line didn’t learn from its mistakes against Germany either. The result was their first consecutive home loss in 74 years.
Even after manager Louis van Gaal publicly claimed the third place game to essentially be pointless, the Dutch still came out far more aggressive than their redemption-seeking opponents, and garnered some help from officials on the field.
The first half was especially plagued by poor officiating, which ultimately resulted in two goals and two yellow cards. And in the second half Brazil received the first yellow of the tournament for diving.
In the third minute of play, Robin van Persie struck the first goal off a penalty after Brazil captain Thiago Silva dragged Arjen Robben to the ground just outside the box. Silva tried to argue the foul occurred outside the penalty area, but was lucky not be sent off after missing the Germany debacle. It was Silva’s third yellow card, and second in his last two matches.
Later another poor call went in the Netherlands favor when midfielder Daley Blind capitalized on a poor header clearance from David Luiz and applied two touches to the ball before his top right shelf strike in the 18th minute. It was Blind’s first goal in the tournament, but the initial through ball that started the play should have been called offside.
As boos rained down following the first half, Brazil had generated only one shot on goal to three for the Dutch. But the lacking Brazilian attack was indicitive of how the team performed once the knockout stage began. Over their final four matches, Brazil scored three goals in their final 390 minutes of regulation and extra time.
Later in the 68th, Blind would again receive a break from the referees. He blatantly stepped on forward Oscar’s foot inside the area, but it was the Brazilian who was booked for diving, the first such call during this year’s Cup.
The play would end Blind’s day anyway, as he was carried off on a stretcher with an apparent leg injury.
The Netherlands would cap the match one minute into injury time, with Georginio Wijaldum tucked defender Daryl Janmaat’s low cross into the bottom right corner of the net for the final goal.