The World Cup is coming to an end.
Today Brazil and the Netherlands battle it out in the third place play off. With Brazil still reeling from a 7-1 defeat to Germany that shocked the host nation, can they pull it together or will Holland take an easy victory?
Kick off is at 4:00 p.m ET (21:00 BST), and you can watch live online streams from ESPN (subscription required) and ITV. ITV coverage is free, but may require you to enter a valid UK postal code if the site cannot verify your location.
Radio and online audio streams are also available for you if you’d rather listen than watch.
Soccer is part of the national identity in Brazil, and after last week’s disastrous game against Germany nothing less than the pride of a nation is at stake today.
In a match that Brazil coach Scolari called “the worst day of my life”, Germany destroyed a Brazilian team in complete disarray in last week’s semi-final. The host team seemed completely incapable of adapting to the loss of Silva and Neymar, and conceded five goals in the first half alone.
For today’s game Thiago Silva returns from suspension to take up his place in defence, which Scolari will hope will restore some structure and prevent another shambolic display. The Brazilian captain is under no illusions about what is at stake.
‘We have the highest possible level of motivation,’ said Silva
‘Obviously we have a different goal now and it’s not first place – we are fighting for but our honour and dignity”
It’s clear that this match means a lot to Brazil, but the story is very different from a Dutch perspective.
“This match should never be played.” said Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal
“I’ve been saying that for 10 years; it’s unfair. There is only one award that counts and that is becoming world champions.
The worst thing is that there is a chance you are going to lose twice in a row. And in a tournament in which you have played so marvelously well, you go home as a loser.”
The attitude of resentful indifference towards today’s match also seems to extend into the Dutch team itself, with Holland midfielder Robben being quoted as saying “Brazil can have it” when asked about today’s game. It’s hard to say if all this is just for the cameras, but it could mean we see a lack of motivation on one side of the field.
If Van Gaal really does place so little importance on the match, it raises the possibility that the team sheet for tonight might look very different than you would expect. With nothing to lose and (in his opinion) nothing worth winning, the Dutch manager may choose to play some less familiar names and give them an opportunity to gain some experience.
Assuming that the Netherlands put some effort into the match, I think this is going to be another day of disappointment for Brazil. With their confidence in tatters and Neymar still out with a broken vertebrae, I don’t believe they have what it takes to compete at this level.
With that being said, I don’t think we will be seeing a repeat of the Germany game and we will most likely see a more traditional score line. My full time score prediction is 3-1 to the Netherlands.
Do you think Brazil can restore some pride? What do you think of the Dutch teams apparent indifference to today’s game?
Join the discussion below and let us know.