It’s the game that no team really wants to play, but this time, Brazil should actually really want to play it. The Selecao will face the Netherlands in the third place playoff match on Saturday, and although the World Cup will not be at stake for them this weekend as they hoped, their pride certainly is.
After their decimation at the hands of Germany, the humiliation is still raw for the country at large. There is no way to undo that or suddenly fix what went so horribly wrong, but Brazil can still leave the tournament having restored some of the pride they lost at the Germany game. Another loss to the Netherlands, however, would simply bring further embarrassment to the nation. Brazil owe their fans a performance, no team can guarantee a win, but you can guarantee to perform at your best and Brazil must do that against the Dutch.
Some of the explanations offered for the capitulation against Germany include one-off individual errors, bad fortune and pressure; all of which should not be a factor in the third place playoff. For those reasons to stand, Brazil must win this game. What if Brazil are just not that good in comparison to the better teams in the world? Another defeat now would simply add fuel to that particular fire.
Brazil are already out of the World Cup, but now is about how they will bow out of the tournament. They can compound the existing tragic feeling, or they can they can leave with a win and something for the fans to cheer about. It won’t match the cheers or success they were hoping for, but it sure beats the mood the country is in right now.