2014 World Cup Preview: Brazil vs. Netherlands

By Aydin Reyhan
Brazil Neymar World Cup Netherlands
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The nation of Brazil was considered the luckiest in the world as it was and still is in the midst of hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Brazilians’ luck unfortunately ran out on Tuesday, when they were heavily ousted in the semifinals against Germany by a score of 7-1.

They were admittedly short of their two best players — Neymar (offensive winger) and captain Thiago Silva (center-back) — which left the players secretly gutted as their play on the field reflected so.

Neymar was the most inspirational player going forward while Silva kept everything calm, cool and collected at the back. Their absence left the remainder of the boys lost at both ends as they simply could not handle the counterattacks against the Germans. They were simply never going to win that game as they faced a truly determined opponent.

The Netherlands lost on penalties to Argentina in a game that could have gone either way. They controlled most of the possession, but their build-up was too patient and slow, which made it easy to read their attacks. Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder were kept quiet, which made it easy to contain the remainder of the team. With that said, maybe they need a new game plan against Brazil, the team they face this Saturday in the battle for third place.

Brazil will field their usual 4-3-3 with their opponent fielding a version of the 5-3-2. With Silva expected to return, scoring on the hosts off the counter will not be as easy as it was in the semis. Neymar will still be out, but the team will remember what they are capable of going forward. They will realize that all good teams lose big once in a while. We can expect everyone to play as a team going forward and tracking back to defend. This was their biggest issue in the semis.

The Netherlands may have to sway away from the 5-3-2 and play in a 4-3-3 of their own as well as make changes to the starting lineup. Their passing against Argentina was way too cautious. Instead of trying to go at the midfield and defense, they kept passing the ball back to be safe. This is something they had not done prior to that game. Stating that Argentina’s defense was too good would be an utter lie. They played a good game because the Netherlands played predictably.

This is going to be an offensive battle with two teams looking to leave with the bronze. Both are capable of winning this match, but only one will do so. The hosts are missing their best attack, whereas the visitors have everyone intact. Regardless, both will give it their all.

Prediction: Brazil 1, Netherlands 2

If the Dutch fail to score again, there is something wrong as they should not be held to two scoreless draws, especially with the latter being against the shakiest defense of the knockout round. Silva is one player who makes a difference, but not that much of a difference.

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