Evening all! Welcome to Sports Mole
's penultimate live commentary from the 2014 World Cup
. Sad huh? It has been a tremendous competition, but there are still two matches to play. Tomorrow pits Germany against Argentina in the final, but the focus this evening is on the third-place playoff between Brazil and Netherlands. Pride is at stake for the home side that is for certain.
The third-place playoff at a World Cup, which was first introduced in 1934, was originally seen as a way to build-up to the main event, but it has been largely criticised in recent years. In truth, neither Brazil nor Netherlands will want to be playing in this particular match, especially with the final tomorrow.
It would be fair to say that Brazil as a whole have still not got over Tuesday night's 7-1 defeat to Germany in the first semi-final. The hosts were 5-0 down at the interval in a match that will live long in the memory. Anything less than the trophy would have been deemed a failure for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side this summer, but Tuesday's capitulation was quite extraordinary and in truth, embarrassing for the nation.
Netherlands also went out in the semi-finals last week, but it was a different story. They were arguably the better side against South American team Argentina, but bowed out on penalties after the two sides played out a goalless 120 minutes of football. Overall, it has been a successful summer for the Dutch.
Tonight is just the second time that Netherlands have been involved in the third-place playoff in a World Cup. In 1998, they lost 2-1 to Croatia having been beaten in the semi-finals by Brazil. However, Brazil have been involved in four of these particular matches. Of those fixtures, they have won twice (1938 and 1978).
Overall, Brazil and Netherlands have met on 11 occasions - five of which have been in a World Cup. Both have won three of those fixtures, with the further five games ending in a share of the spoils. Netherlands, however, have won two of the last three World Cup matches between the two sides, including a 2-1 victory on their way to the final – which they lost to Spain – in 2010.
In fact, Brazil's last victory over Netherlands was back in 1999, when the Selecao recorded a 3-1 win in a match where five players were sent off. The Brazilian faithful wanted and indeed expected their team to pick up the trophy this summer, but they will be looking for a response this evening that is for certain.
RUMOURED TEAM NEWS:
Dutch skipper Robin van Persie
is reportedly out for Netherlands this evening, while Jordy Clasie is expected to replace Nigel de Jong in the XI. I must stress, however, that this is unconfirmed at the moment. The official team news will be released in the next 20 minutes or so.
Brazil's seven goals conceded and one scored against Germany in the semi-finals means that they have netted 11 times this summer and indeed conceded 11. They have never let in more than 11 at a single World Cup, but that was the total conceded in the 1938 competition. In the early stages, defensively Brazil looked strong, but the loss of skipper Thiago Silva
to suspension created a gaping hole in the back four.
The Dutch, meanwhile, scored 11 goals during their three group matches, but managed just one in their three knockout matches. Ten of their 12 goals in the tournament have come after half-time and four have arrived after the 75th minute. Could that pattern continue tonight? Just a reminder that kickoff is at 9pm UK time.
Should Swansea City goalkeeper Michel Vorm appear for Netherlands this evening then Louis van Gaal would have used every single member of his 23-man squad. Second-choice stopper Tim Krul was famously introduced for the penalty shootout against Costa Rica in the quarter-finals, with the Newcastle United man coming up trumps by saving two spot-kicks in the shootout. The team news is around 15 minutes away.
Incredibly, Netherlands have reached at least the semi-finals in three of their last four World Cup tournaments and they have reached the final in three of their last eight attempts. The first of those arrived in 1974, before they also finished second in 1978. The Dutch did not qualify in either 1982 or 1986, but returned with a quarter-final finish in 1990. Since then, they have made the quarter-finals in 1994, semi-finals in 1998 and finished as runner-up to Spain in 2010. It is an impressive record.
Brazil, meanwhile are five-time winners of the World Cup. Their came in 1958, before they picked up the trophy for a second time four years later. The third time arrived in 1970, before winning a fourth in 1994. Their last success was in 2002, but Selecao were eliminated in the quarter-finals in both 2006 and 2010.
Prior to the match against Germany in the semi-finals, Brazil had not suffered a home defeat since they lost to Paraguay in 2002. It was a run that stretched 42 matches, which makes the manner of the loss in the semi-finals even more incredible. That said, only six members of Brazil's 23-man squad at this summer's tournament have World Cup experience. It is an incredible statistic when running through the list of names, but it is a squad extremely inexperienced at this particular level of football.
Netherlands have lost just two of their last 12 World Cup games against South American teams - not including penalty shootouts. They have also won 11 of their last 13 games at the World Cup – a competition that has been good to them. Ultimately, however, they have fallen just short of the grand prize once more.
TEAM NEWS: Maxwell, Jo, Ramires and Willian come into the Brazil XI this evening, while there is also a return for skipper Thiago Silva. Fred and Hulk have both dropped out. For Netherlands, Van Persie is deemed fit to start, while Jordy Clasie does indeed come into the XI for his first start this summer.
BRA: Cesar; Maicon, Silva, Luiz, Maxwell; Paulinho, Gustavo; Willian, Oscar, Ramires; Jo
NED: Cillessen; De Vij, Martins Indi, Vlaar; Blind, Clasie, Wijnaldum, Sneijder, Kuyt; Robben, Van Persie
So there we have it. As mentioned, Maxwell, Silva, Paulinho, Willian, Ramires and Jo all come into the Brazil XI this evening, with Marcelo, Dante, Fernandinho, Hulk, Fred and Bernard all dropping out. Only Julio Cesar, David Luiz, Maicon, Gustavo and Oscar keep their spots from the defeat to Germany.
Just the one change for Netherlands, meanwhile, with Clasie coming into the side in place of Nigel de Jong, who is carrying an injury. The rest of the XI is as expected, with Daley Blind
and Dirk Kuyt once more operating in the full-back roles. Arjen Robben
and Van Persie will lead the line once more in an attacking side.
Right, how did each team make it to this stage? Brazil topped Group A - winning two of their three matches and remaining unbeaten in the process. That run of results saw them finish level on points with second-place Mexico, but with a superior goal difference, having scored seven times and conceded just twice.
Scolari's side opened with a 3-1 win over Croatia, but they were then frustrated in their second match against Mexico, who held the five-time winners to a goalless draw. Brazil returned to winning ways in their final match, however, putting four goals past Cameroon to ensure that they topped the group and therefore avoided Netherlands in the first knockout round.
South American opponents arrived in each of the next two rounds, with Brazil needing a penalty shootout to beat much-fancied Chile having drawn 1-1 in 120 minutes of football. Colombia were Brazil's quarter-final opponents, but goals from Thiago Silva and David Luiz helped the hosts book their spot in the semi-finals.
Netherlands, meanwhile, opened their Group B campaign with a sensational 5-1 win over Spain, before beating Australia 3-2 to secure their spot in the next round. Chile, meanwhile, beat Spain in their second match to eliminate La Roja from the competition. Before the tournament, many had predicted that Netherlands would fall at the group stage, but they topped arguably the toughest section with nine points.
Mexico were Netherlands' opponents in the last-16 stage and it looked as if Van Gaal's side would be heading out of the competition after Giovani dos Santos struck for Mexico early in the second half. However, the Dutch responded with two goals from Wesley Sneijder and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to break Mexican hearts.
Costa Rica were Netherlands' quarter-final opponents and again it was tight. Neither side could open the deadlock in 120 minutes of football, with another penalty shootout left to decide the outcome of the contest. Van Gaal's side came through following some heroics from Krul, which set up a semi-final with Argentina.
In truth, the second semi-final was not the best spectacle, with both teams cancelling each other out for long spells. Argentina kept their nerve in the shootout, however, scoring each of their four penalties, with two missed spot-kicks from the Dutch sending them crashing out of the tournament.
What about both managers? Brazil boss Scolari is currently in his second spell in charge of Brazil having previously led his national team to the World Cup title in 2002. The well-travelled boss has also previously managed Portugal, whom he led to the final of Euro 2004 and the semi-finals of the World Cup two years later. It is understood that the 65-year-old will decide his long-term future following the completion of the tournament. Rumours have claimed that Scolari will not walk away from the position.
Netherlands boss Van Gaal, however, will leave his position as Dutch coach after this match to take charge of Premier League side Manchester United, whom he will join for pre-season training next week. The well-travelled manager is currently in his second spell in charge of the Netherlands having previously managed his nation between 2000 and 2002. Right, little over 20 minutes until kickoff tonight.
Right, here's a word from the two bosses ahead of tonight's clash in Brasilia: "You shouldn't have players play a match for third and fourth place. There should only be one champion. I think that this match should never be played. I have been saying it for 10 or 15 years," Van Gaal told reporters when questioned on the importance of this particular match.
Meanwhile, Scolari told reporters: "I will continue with my life, the players will also continue to be winners and we must continue — you cannot end the life of the players for it. History will have to record that Brazil, for the first time since 2002, reached the semi-finals."
Brazil just had their squad revealed for this evening inside the stadium. The two individuals that received the most boos? Scolari and Fred. David Luiz was widely applauded, which is an indication of how he is seen in these parts. Right, there is some bad news for Netherlands, who have been forced into a change to their XI.
BREAKING: Dutch midfielder Sneijder has injured his hamstring in the warm-up and has therefore been replaced in the XI by Jonathan de Guzman. That is a big blow for Van Gaal at this stage.
PREDICTION: Earlier this afternoon, I backed Brazil to triumph in this match. However, having seen the Brazil XI, I just cannot see where the goals are coming from. It is a patched-up forward-line and I expect Netherlands to cause more misery this evening. My score prediction is 2-1 Holland in normal time.
Here we go then. Little over five minutes until kickoff and both national anthems are about to take place. It isn't the match that either team wanted this weekend, but pride is at stake. Who will triumph?
As expected, the Brazilian national anthem was emotional once more. Right, the pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. We are just about ready to get this third-place playoff underway. There is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium in Brasilia it must be said.
Tomorrow pits Argentina against Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, but who will finish third? Can Brazil sign off in style? Or will the Dutch do further damage? Netherlands get the first 45 minutes of action underway.
Netherlands are awarded a penalty as Silva pulls Robben to the ground. Replays have shown that it was outside the box, but a penalty has been given and Van Persie will take.
GOAL! Brazil 0-1 Netherlands (Van Persie, pen)
Van Persie sends his effort into the top corner to send Netherlands into the lead. It was brilliant work from the Dutch skipper in the build-up, who fed Robben. Silva was booked, but it might have been a red card.
This stadium has been stunned into silence here. Netherlands had started the better, but Brazil have responded with a period of possession in the last couple of minutes. What a World Cup this has been!
Well, we have seen some tight matches in the last few weeks, but this is not one of them. Neither side are too interested in defending at the moment as Brazil break with Oscar, who delivers a brilliant cross towards Ramires, but Blind just does enough to clear the danger. End-to-end football with seven minutes played.
I don't mean to dwell on it, but Silva had to go in that incident with Robben. How has the referee only awarded a yellow card? It wasn't a penalty, but it was a red card. Was it too early in the match? We will find out a lot about Brazil's character this evening. It has been a decent response since the early setback.
BOOKING! Robben is awarded a yellow card after the Netherlands winger brings Paulinho to the ground having lost possession. He joins Silva in the book. What an opening to this match.
Not too much to report in terms of clear chances in the last couple of minutes, but it has been a strong response from Brazil, with Maxwell and Ramires both delivering dangerous balls into the Dutch box, but Martins Indi twice deals with the danger. Robben is down the other end moments later, but he cannot find Wijnaldum.
Robben is again involved for the Dutch as he combines with Kuyt before attempting to drive into the Brazil box, but the ball just runs away from the Bayern winger at the vital moment. Brazil are down the other end with Willian moments later, but Kuyt performs his defensive duties and clears the danger.
Luiz brings the ball out of defence for Brazil before finding Oscar, but Blind is across to make a brilliant challenge at the vital moment. The high tempo continues as Jo finds some space in a wide area before feeding Willian, but once more the danger is cleared. End-to-end football in Brasilia.
GOAL! Brazil 0-2 Netherlands (Blind)
Oh my word - it is happening again. Netherlands have their second as Blind fires one into the top corner following a terrible piece of defending from Luiz - who dropped a header straight into his own box following a cross from De Guzman. It is happening again for Brazil here. Incredible scenes.
Well, this place is just silent at the moment. Brazil are 2-0 down inside 20 minutes. This could get a lot worse before it gets better for the host nation. Netherlands look in the mood tonight that is for certain.
Possession football from Brazil in the middle of the park, but they are finding it difficult to break through in the final third. Maicon finds space in a wide area before delivering into the box, but De Vrij clears once more. One goal for the host nation would change the atmosphere inside the stadium.
Half-chance for Brazil as Oscar finds some space outside the box before drilling one towards the bottom corner, but Cillessen is on hand to collect. Fairly comfortable save for the Dutch stopper. Netherlands are down the other end with Robben moments later, but the Bayern winger loses possession under pressure from Gustavo.
Netherlands again threaten as Robben shows Gustavo a clean pair of heels before driving a cross into the Brazilian box, which eventually Kuyt collects at the far post. The wing-back keeps possession by finding Blind and the Dutch have the host nation penned into their own box at the moment. Strong play from the Dutch.
The tempo has dropped in the last couple of moments as Luiz plays another aimless pass into the arms of Cillessen, before Blind loses control down the other end. You just get the feeling that Brazil need to score the next goal if they are to find a way back into this match. Little over 15 minutes of the first half to play.
Brazil have a free kick in a wide position as Martins Indi brings Oscar to the ground. Chance here...
... Luiz meets the cross from Oscar, but his header is wide of the post.
Half-chance for De Guzman to make it 3-0 to Netherlands as the Villarreal midfielder, who spent last season with Swansea City, finds some space outside the box, but his effort is high and wide. There is all sorts of room between Brazilian centre-backs Silva and Luiz at the moment.
Slightly untidy period of the match in the last couple of moments, with the referee forced to intervene following a number of late challenges. Netherlands have a free kick in a wide position as Marcelo fells Robben, but the set piece, which is delivered by Robben, is headed clear by Jo.
Van Persie has a half-chance for Netherlands after finding some space outside the box, but his effort is straight into the arms of Cesar. Moments later, Wijnaldum fells Maicon just outside the Netherlands box.
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Brazil as Oscar floats his free kick towards the far post, but Wijnaldum just does enough to head clear under pressure from both Luiz and Silva.
BOOKING! De Guzman goes into the book for Netherlands following a late challenge on Oscar.
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Brazil as Gustavo meets a near-post free kick from Oscar, but it just edges wide of the post. Luiz was inches away from making contact at the far stick.
Kuyt has a problem for Netherlands here as the former Liverpool striker picks up a head wound following a heavy challenge from Maxwell. It looks a really nasty one.
Kuyt returns to the field following a period of treatment. He has his critics, but he is one tough boy that is for certain. Netherlands come forward once more with De Vrij, but this time Brazil have bodies behind the ball. Van Persie eventually strikes one from outside the box, but Cesar is down to make a smart save.
Another free kick for Brazil just outside the Dutch box as Ramires is brought to the ground by Vlaar...
... Oscar takes the resulting set piece, but his effort is straight into the wall. Maxwell picks up the pieces outside the box, but he fires high and wide. More disappointment for Brazil late in the first period.
It's brilliant work from Clasie as the Dutch midfielder fires a stunning cross into the Brazilian box following smart work from De Guzman, but there are no takers. Clasie has been very impressive once more.
HALF-TIME: Brazil 0-2 Netherlands
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end, with Netherlands leading Brazil 2-0 at the interval courtesy of goals from Van Persie and Blind. Van Persie's strike arrived from the penalty spot, before Blind found the top corner following some poor defending from Luiz. Dutch in control here.
STATISTICS: Brazil have had more of the ball with 59% possession, while they have had six attempts - four of which have been on target. Netherlands, meanwhile, have had just four attempts, but scored with two of them. It has been a feisty half in terms of tackles, with the referee issuing three bookings.
BENCH WATCH: The likes of Hulk and Fred have struggled for Brazil this summer, but they would be the likeliest options from the bench for Scolari. Bernard will also be hoping for some football. Netherlands are without the injured Sneijder, who pulled up with a hamstring problem in the warm-up, but they have plenty of attacking options in the shape of Huntelaar, Depay and Lens.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. If Brazil are to find a way back into this match then surely they need the next goal. Right, the hosts get the half underway.
SUB! One change for Brazil at the break, with Fernandinho replacing Gustavo.
Strong start to the second half from Brazil as the host nation immediately force Netherlands into their own half, but the move comes to an end when Maxwell drifts into an offside position. Something needs to happen in order to raise the supporters here. The stadium is flat, which is not too much of a surprise.
Ramires takes matters into his own hands for Brazil by driving through the heart of the Netherlands defence, but Vlaar is on hand to clear for a corner. Moments later, Robben is down the other end, but the Bayern winger is brought to the ground by Ramires. End-to-end football in the last couple of minutes.
Netherlands come close to a third as Robben takes a quick free kick to Blind before regaining the ball and delivering towards Wijnaldum, but the midfielder had moved into an offside position. A third for Netherlands would surely end this match as a contest. Brazil need some inspiration from someone here.
The volume inside the stadium rises each time Brazil break into the final third, but it ends in disappointment as each attack continues to break down. Not too much to report in terms of clear chances in the second period, but Netherlands remain a serious threat on the break with the pace of Robben.
BOOKING! Fernandinho becomes the fourth player to enter the book tonight as the Manchester City midfielder brings Van Persie to the ground with a hefty challenge.
SUB! Second Brazilian change of the evening as Hernanes replaces Paulinho.
Still no movement on the Netherlands bench, but I suspect that Van Gaal will look to make changes in the next five minutes or so. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining and the Dutch still lead 2-0.
Another half-chance for Netherlands as Wijnaldum finds some space outside the Brazilian box before dancing past Hernanes and finding Vlaar, but the Villa centre-back loses control at the vital moment. Brazil are down the other end with Oscar moments later, but once more the move breaks down in the final third.
CHANCE! Just about Brazil's best chance as Ramires turns past Vlaar before driving one towards the bottom corner, but it just moves wide of Cillessen's post.
Slightly untidy period of the match in the last couple of minutes, with both sides guilty of losing possession too easily in the final third. Brazil are trying to fashion a clear opening, but the Dutch continue to defend well. A free kick does arrive for the host nation, however, as Blind fells Maicon in a dangerous area.
Luiz takes the resulting set piece, but his effort is straight into the arms of Cillessen.
In fairness to Brazil, they are really trying to put something together here. Plenty of effort, but there is a lack of quality in the final third. Brazil want a penalty as Maicon drills a cross into Vlaar, but it would have been a harsh decision. Vlaar's arms were not raised when the ball made contact.
The referee has been too picky for me this evening as he continues to stem the flow by awarding a series of cheap free kicks. Still no movement on the Netherlands bench, while Brazil have just one permitted change remaining. As it stands, it is going to be yet more disappointment for the Brazilian faithful.
BOOKING! The referee books Brazilian attacker Oscar for simulation after the Chelsea midfielder tried to win a penalty from Blind.
SUB! Netherlands are forced into their first change of the match, with Blind failing to recover from that knee-on-knee challenge with Oscar. Blind's replacement is Janmaat.
Having seen a replay of that Oscar incident, the Chelsea midfielder can feel a little aggrieved. It was certainly not a dive and a penalty might have been the correct call. Van Persie is down the other end for Netherlands moments later, but the Manchester United striker had moved into an offside position.
SUB! Brazil make their third and final change as Hulk replaces Ramires.
Robben again threatens for Netherlands after driving into the Brazil box, but the attacker just loses his footing at the vital moment and the danger is cleared. Brazil break down the other end with Hulk, but once more the referee gets involved following a tangle with De Vrij. The official has been too picky all evening.
Half-chance for Hulk following bright work from Oscar, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Little over 10 minutes of football remaining and still Netherlands lead 2-0 in Brasilia.
Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments, with Netherlands more than happy to sit back and absorb the pressure. Brazil continue to work the ball from side to side, but their lack of ideas this evening has been alarming. It has been another poor display from the five-time winners.
Half-chance for Oscar as the Brazilian finds some space in a wide position, but his effort is curled high and wide of the crossbar. That just about sums up the night for Brazil.
The untidy period of the match continues, with the referee awarding a number of free kicks in the middle of the park. Chances have been few and far between in the latter stages and at the moment, it is extremely comfortable for Netherlands, who are on the verge of securing third place in this summer's tournament.
Just a reminder that Germany and Argentina meet in tomorrow's final and you can follow all the action with Sports Mole. Be sure to join us for that. Back to Brasilia and Brazil have a free kick just outside the Netherlands box as De Guzman brings Willian to the ground. Hulk will take...
... the Zenit attacker delivers towards the near post, but Wijnaldum is on hand to head clear.
Half-chance for Netherlands as Kuyt meets a corner from Van Persie, but Cesar just does enough to direct it past the post. Netherlands fancy a third here as they commit numbers into the final third.
SUB! Netherlands make their second change as Veltman replaces Clasie, who is forced to leave the field on a stretcher.
The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional five minutes and we are indeed into the first of those. Can Brazil mount a late comeback?
GOAL! Brazil 0-3 Netherlands (Wijnaldum)
Netherlands have their third as Wijnaldum turns in at the near post following a low cross from Janmaat. Brilliant team goal from the Dutch.
SUB! Netherlands make their third and final change as Vorm replaces Cillessen. Every member of Van Gaal's 23-man squad have now played a part in this World Cup.
FULL-TIME: Brazil 0-3 Netherlands
So there we have it. Boos ring around the stadium as Brazil are beaten 3-0 by Netherlands in the third-place playoff. It has been a terrible few days for the Brazilian national team.
That is just about all from me this evening. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to stick around the site for all the fall-out from tonight's match. Until next time!