It is the match that teams often do not want to face after being eliminated from the World Cup, but hosts Brazil will take on the Netherlands in the third-place play-off on Saturday in Brasilia.
The Selecao were crushed at the hands of Germany in their historic 7-1 defeat, and finding their way back onto a football pitch will be the last thing they wish to do.
Louis van Gaal and his Netherlands side might also struggle for motivation after the coach said, as per Mike Prindiville of NBC Sports: “I think this match should never be played and I’ve been saying this for 10 years.”
Despite the disappointed opinions of both sides, here is a form guide for the game and how you can catch the match, with some predictions:
|Brazil vs. the Netherlands: Form Guide|
When: Saturday, July 12, at 9 p.m. BST (4 p.m. ET)
Where: Brasilia, Brazil
TV: ITV HD (UK only); ESPN (U.S. only)
Brazil to Seek Atonement
It is currently impossible to measure just what the 7-1 semi-final defeat against Germany will do to Brazilian football in the long run.
The beating was a public humiliation for a team that were not good enough on the day and lacked the self-respect to keep the score down.
Germany coasted through the match, and it can be argued that they were not even at their best during the contest, making the scoreline even more ridiculous than it looks on paper.
But Saturday allows Brazil to make the start of their return from hell, and it gives them an opportunity to build their self-esteem back.
The Netherlands' lack of motivation for the match could be used as an advantage here, though surely LvG will not allow the chance to come in third pass his side by.
For the nation's sake, Luiz Felipe Scolari should start Hulk in the striker's role―something he should have done throughout the competition.
Hulk will be an improved option for the Brazil team, adding weight and power against a Netherlands defence that has looked impressive in recent weeks.
The 27-year-old is the right option for Scolari at present, having scored 17 times in 24 appearances in the Russian Premier League this year, as per WhoScored.com.
Even after their humiliation, this is a game that Brazil can win. The Dutch will not have the same intensity that they have shown throughout the competition, and Scolari's men must recognise this.
Hulk can be the player who puts smiles back on the faces of the Brazilian public, and though they expected better than third place on home soil, the reality is that this Brazil team is nowhere near as good as the two teams in the final.
All Change for the Netherlands
The match on Saturday represents the end of Van Gaal's tenure as manager of the Netherlands, and the coach has excelled during the tournament.
The Dutch were not expected to dominate the group stages, but a shocking 5-1 win against Spain started their campaign off with a bang, and they rode a crest of a wave to the semi-finals, despite nearly being eliminated by Mexico.
Van Gaal is likely to freshen up his first XI after professing that he is not a fan of the third-place play-off.
And this reflects the opinion of many in the football community, as tweeted by the The Times' Matthew Syed.
After his exertions in the Argentina game, it is almost certain that Robin van Persie will not feature after suffering with illness. If this is the case, the armband will go to Arjen Robben, who could not pull out one more inspirational performance in the semis.
Both the Netherlands and Brazil will be licking their wounds for different reasons over the coming days, but the third-place play-off is a chance for them both to shake out some of the cobwebs.
Many players from each squad will be on the move in the transfer window, and one more good performance at the World Cup could be beneficial to individual players.
But Brazil should want the result more, and the return of Thiago Silva will massively benefit Scolari's selection.
So, the Selecao should get one final day in the sun before they bid their fans farewell. It has been a stunning tournament for football fans and will go down in history as one of the best competitions of all time.
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