B/R Experts' World Cup Predictions: Can Brazil Find World Cup Redemption?
Bleacher Report's experts were keen not to rest on the laurels of their efforts of last season, so they will go into battle for the whole of the World Cup.
Each game will feature a score prediction, combined with a Man of the Match selection (based on FIFA's official decision).
The predictions for the Brazil vs. Netherlands third-place play-off are in the following slide, and you will be able to chart the writers' success—or lack thereof—for the rest of the tournament on our daily scoreboard.
Post your own picks on Twitter and include @br_uk. Anyone who gets all scorelines and the Man of the Match awards correct will receive a Bleacher Report goody bag.
Brazil vs. Netherlands
Alex Dimond: Brazil 3-2 Netherlands
The third-place play-off is traditionally difficult to predict, simply because both teams have lost their primary motivation. It is difficult to know how managers will approach everything, from their team selection to their preparation for the game.
However, having lost so heavily to Germany in the semi-final, Brazil need to win this game to salvage a little bit of pride. With Louis van Gaal having already scoffed at the importance of the game, that might be enough to see them edge a close one.
Man of the Match: Willian
How can we be sure what team Luiz Felipe Scolari will pick? But starting Bernard over Willian against Germany turned out to be a mistake, and the Chelsea winger might underline that if belatedly given the chance to start in a game that will surely be pretty open.
Michael Cummings: Brazil 2-1 Netherlands
Can Brazil recover from the debacle against Germany? Will they even have the will to do so? Hard to say, but it's been a really, really long time since the Dutch actually scored a goal. I'm backing the hosts to regain a (tiny) bit of pride.
Man of the Match: Thiago Silva
His absence in the Germany game was costly, though it was far from the only factor. His return should help steady the ship.
Sam Tighe: Brazil 1-0 Netherlands
Louis van Gaal seems to think this match doesn't matter, and that will transfer to his players. Despite Brazil looking a shambles, they will win on account of trying.
Man of the Match: Fred
Fred to bundle home the winner. Unlikely? Yes, but this won't be a normal third-place play-off.
Will Tidey: Netherlands 2-1 Brazil
The most sorry of anticlimaxes gets the conclusion we all know is coming. They'll be braver, bolder and likely less ridiculous in defence, but Brazil will still lose to the Dutch.
Man of the Match: Memphis Depay
Netherlands international to illustrate his youthful talent against the Brazilians.
Karl Matchett: Brazil 2-1 Netherlands
I don’t see the Netherlands taking the game particularly seriously after Louis van Gaal’s comments, though a few players who haven’t featured much at the World Cup finals will obviously hope to get good experience from the match. Brazil, though, have a big apology to make to their fans and dare not put in another inept performance.
Man of the Match: Bernard
Hard to know who might play a part if the sides are changed around, but Bernard has the ability to make a difference on the ball in the final third.
B/R Expert Picks
(One point for correct result, three points for correct scoreline, two points for correct Man of the Match.)
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