After seeing their World Cup hopes end in excruciating fashion, both Brazil and the Netherlands might not mind getting away from the pitch for a few days. But first, they will battle it out Saturday in the third-place match.
A sixth championship was in the sights of every Brazilian, but those dreams came to a screeching halt via seven Germany goals in the semifinal. Nobody is feeling worse than the host nation, but the Dutch are also hanging their heads after coming so close to a return to the final—only to lose the Argentina in penalty kicks.
These players only have a few chances—or in some cases, just one—to make their mark on a World Cup, though. There's no doubt that the level of play won't be near Sunday's final between Germany and Argentina, but action shouldn't be sparse between two prideful nations hoping to go out with a win.
Here's a look at viewing information and odds for Saturday's third-place match:
|Date||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Sat., July 12||4 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
Source: Odds Shark
Note: Odds courtesy of Odds Shark
Up through the latter stages of their quarterfinal against Colombia, this World Cup had unfolded just as the host nation would have liked.
After one fateful injury to Neymar and seven German goals that likely would've happened anyway, that dream died in one of the most painful ways imaginable. To make matters worse, arch-rivals Argentina advanced on to the final—leaving the possibility alive of the Argentines hoisting the trophy in Brazil.
The Dutch know that better than anybody, after a 120-minute affair in Sao Paulo that ended with Lionel Messi and company celebrating an Argentina trip to the final. They flirted with disaster for the second straight match by going to penalties, and this time substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul couldn't be brought on as the Dutch had used all of their subs.
Tyler Duffy of The Big Lead noted the certain struggle these teams will face in getting their spirits up for another match:
And Brazil and the Netherlands still have to take the field again. Brutal.— Tyler Duffy (@tyduffy) July 9, 2014
Although it may not seem like it in the wake of their World Cup dreams dashing away, both the Brazilians and Dutch have plenty to play for in Saturday's final.
Only three national teams receive recognition for their play in a World Cup—champions, runners up and third place.
One of those spots is available for whatever team wants it most.
For Brazil, they still have everything to play for—injured Neymar and millions of their own fans. No nation is more hungry for a victory at the moment, after the way that the hosts went out in the semifinals.
Just as well, the Netherlands could come in with a chip on their shoulder. They just saw their hopes of making it to a second straight final end, but after going scoreless for two matches they will be hungry to get back to their scoring ways against a team that just gave up seven goals.
It really has the makings to be an interesting match if both sides bring their best, as Rafael Hernandez noted:
Netherlands vs Brazil is a promising match too, even though 3rd place decisions are usually disdained.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) July 9, 2014
Even without Neymar, Brazil's attack has the potential to be dangerous. Players like Fred, Hulk and Bernard now have more room to operate with, and Oscar could be in for a big match after scoring late against the Germans.
Who will win the third-place match?
On the other side, there's no denying that the Dutch can strike early and often. Arjen Robben started to find some opportunities late against Argentina, and Robin van Persie will be looking to prove himself to future club manager Louis van Gaal after a couple of dud showings.
Both the Brazilians and Dutch have been crushed emotionally in the past few days, but they will have to recover quickly. There's still a match to play, and plenty to play for.
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