clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Even the Blind can score on Brazil - World Cup 2014 Third Place: Netherlands 3, Brazil 0

New, 2 comments

Just like they did against Germany, Brazil wilted right from the gate. But at least they stopped the bleeding.

Daley Blind jabs the dagger into the Brazilian psyche.
Daley Blind jabs the dagger into the Brazilian psyche.
Buda Mendes

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Bracket'

BRAZIL
0-3 NETHERLANDS
van Persie 3' (pen)
Blind 17'
Wijnaldum 90'+

Brazil-Netherlands

Thiago Silva returned from his disciplinary suspension -- the one which is largely responsible for Brazil even being forced to play in this game in the first place -- and within three minutes had come a hair's breadth from being sent off. Robin van Persie passed through ahead of a streaking Arjen Robben, and Silva cynically began hauling Robben to the ground just outside the penalty area. Algerian referee Djamel Houmadi immediately signaled the penalty. (Robben, for his part, did not cover himself in glory, throwing one of his trademark fits after the referee signaled the penalty kick, but before he'd determined Silva's punishment. You already got the call, Arjen. Simmer down.)

Silva was fortunate, then, to only receive yellow; a professional foul abrogating a clear scoring chance should have earned a red and 87 minutes of Brazil being down a man. On the other hand, the actual location of the foul should have resulted in a free kick rather than a penalty, so perhaps the Dutch came out better than they should have anyway. van Persie slotted the penalty, and the almost entirely Brazilian crowd rained a chorus of boos down onto the pitch. A bit later, Robben may have gotten paid back for his theatrics, earning himself a yellow which was probably deserved, but may have been questionable.

A quarter-hour later, a hustle mistake on the part of the Brazilian defense allowed Jonathan de Guzman (who, to be fair, was a couple of inches offside) to race to the end line and cross; David Luiz then compounded the breakdown with an absolutely horrible clearance header which arced straight to Daley Blind. Blind lifted his leg high to collect, settled, and drilled a shot into the net for his very first international goal. Four minutes later on the other end, Jasper Cillessen was called upon to make his first save, just in case you might have thought the Dutch had simply been lucky against an even run of play. Most of the rest of the half, however, took place in the Dutch zone.

At the half-hour mark, the 60,000 Brazilians in the stands did the wave, which pretty much encapsulates the first half. Shortly after, Brazil had some chances, beginning with a free kick from the right front corner of the penalty area when Georginio Wijnaldum brought down Maicon, but they came to naught. Another free kick by Oscar from the right corner area a few minutes later skittered harmlessly through the entire mass in front of goal. Brazil simply couldn't capitalize on anything.

The second half? Yawn. While the officiating in the first half wasn't a glorious display of perfection, in the second half it was abysmal. Perhaps not coincidentally, the pace of the game crashed to a crawl, and possession turned into a nightmare. Daley Blind should have been flagged for a penalty after cutting down Oscar in the box at the 69-minute mark; instead, Oscar received the first yellow handed out for simulation in this entire World Cup. In the challenge, however, Blind was injured badly enough to require a stretcher and a sub, with Daryl Janmaat coming on in relief.

And then Hulk came on for Brazil, doing Hulk things. Things which did not include scoring goals, naturally. And when the Dutch added a third just moments into stoppage time when Robben passed forward to a flying Janmaat, who then crossed for a perfect volley from Wijnaldum, it was all over. That led to Louis van Gaal swapping goalkeepers, giving Michel Vorm his first game action after sitting on the bench for two World Cups. And then it was over, and in the aftermath Arjen Robben couldn't find anyone in a blue kit to celebrate with. As our colleague Chris Furhmeister noted, it was like Roger Dorn at the end of Major League II.

It was a disastrous end for the hosts, being outscored 10-1 in their final two contests. There will be recriminations and demands for answers and change. But before we write Brazil's eulogy as a soccer power, let's not forget: France has, in the past, suffered worse indignity and recovered. This is not the end for Brazil; it's just the ignition on a much-needed change in the program. The real question for A Seleção is going to be who leads them going forward.

SB Nation's coverage of Brazil-Netherlands