LUIS VAN GAAL has not wanted to meet Brazil but he has no choice. He has moaned every time it looked like his side would face Brazil. Before the round of 16, he went hard on Fifa, accusing them of letting Brazil in Group A play after Group B in their last group games.
Soon after Argentina won the shootouts to advance to the final, Van Gaal went wired, claiming the third place playoffs, aka, losers match, was not worth the value. He said Fifa should scrap it. The truth is that Van Gaal is wary of losing. And he says as much.
The last time Le Oranje contested the third place playoff, they lost to Davor Suker’s Croatia in 1998. And, despite the worst semis loss in World Cup history, Brazil can still regroup to beat Netherlands.
The Samba will welcome back captain Thiago Silva, suspended for the ‘night in hell’ loss, and his presence won’t doubt stabilise the defence line again. If Brazil can approach this fixture the same way Germany did in 2006 in Munich against Portugal, Netherlands will be left crawling on their fours.
Many are thinking that Brazil will not be in the mental shape to play another game after the Germany washout but that is not true. Luis Felipe Scolari is a man trying to save his job. A defeat would effectively see him sacked, but a win leaves the board pondering if it was not just the work of fate—the suspension of Thiago and injury to Neymar.
Netherlands will again want to rely on Arjen Robben, but if Marcelo can play like Argentina’s Rojo and Scolari returns Dani Alves to right back, Brazil will be comfortable enough to swat Netherlands.
The Dutch were not expected to even emerge from their group before the tournament and the semi alone is an achievement. They will lose.
Brazil 3-2 Netherlands