Brazil vs. Netherlands: Lessons Both Teams Must Learn From 2014 World Cup

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Brazil vs. Netherlands: Lessons Both Teams Must Learn From 2014 World Cup
Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

The Netherlands completed Brazil's embarrassing 2014 World Cup campaign by beating the hosts 3-0 in the third-place match on Saturday, and the world's most football-crazy nation is officially in mourning.

Both teams will end the tournament with very different emotions, as the Dutch overachieved with a young, inexperienced squad, and the Selecao came undone like a house of cards when faced with adversity.

It seems safe to assume both teams will have new managers in the near future, as Louis van Gaal is on his way to Manchester United, and Felipe Scolari will most likely be sacked following the debacle that was Brazil's World Cup campaign.

The two new managers will have plenty of time to look over the tapes of their respective teams, and here are a few things they should learn from the 2014 World Cup.

 

Brazil

Selecao Need a Plan B

Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

It's easy to point at the injury of Neymar as the key turning point in Brazil's campaign, as the star forward had been responsible for most the team's offensive output going into the match against Colombia.

Go back a little further, though, and you'll see that's not exactly the case. The entire Brazilian offence was built around Neymar, and as soon as teams found out how to eliminate his threat, the hosts struggled.

Mexico were able to play the Selecao to a draw that way. Chile nearly knocked the hosts out of the tournament by marking him out of the match, and both Brazilian goals against Colombia came from set pieces.

Celso Junior/Getty Images

Fred, Jo and Hulk disappointed tremendously during the World Cup, there's no denying that. Neither of them was able to step up when Neymar went down with a back injury, but their struggles begun well before the match against Colombia.

Scolari put so much faith in his system and the scoring prowess of Neymar, and ultimately, it cost the team. The best teams in the world find different ways to attack their opponents if something isn't working, and that is something Brazil were unable to do during the 2014 World Cup.

 

David Luiz Can't Lead a Back 4

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

The €50 million-man was by far the worst performer during the embarrassing 7-1 semi-final loss against Germany, and he didn't look much improved against the Dutch, even with the mercurial Thiago Silva playing at his side.

Yes, his frequent runs into the opposing half are eye-catching, and he'll occasionally bury a magnificent free-kick. But as a centre-back, that's not his primary objective. His job is to defend his own goal, and when he's wearing the captain's armband, he's supposed to lead the defence.

Against Germany, his leadership was nowhere to be found. His positioning was dreadful, he didn't communicate with his teammates and he never picked up on the German runners in the box.

His "assist" for Daley Blind's goal in the third-place play-off was the kind of rookie mistake you simply cannot make. ESPN FC's Dale Johnson couldn't believe what he was seeing:

Luiz has all the potential in the world, but on a mental level, he simply isn't strong enough to lead a defensive unit. Play him as a holding midfielder, or instruct him to do exactly as Thiago Silva says and pray for the best. But whatever the new manager does, don't let him run the defence.

 

Netherlands

Ron Vlaar and Stefan De Vrij Can Match Up With the Best in the World

Andre Penner/Associated Press

It feels almost sacrilege to say, but if the 2014 World Cup is any indication, it's true—the Netherlands may have found a defensive partnership capable of taking on the very best strikers in the world.

Vlaar was an absolute rock for the Dutch team during the tournament, and the young De Vrij got better with each and every match. He was very solid against Argentina, but the way he handled the Brazilian forward running at him was eye opening.

Mind you, they didn't just manage to stop both Argentina and Brazil from scoring—they did it without the protection from the injured Nigel de Jong and Kevin Strootman.

Infrostrada's Simon Gleave was greatly impressed by how the youngster handled himself on the big stage:

Meanwhile, Vlaar even made Rio Ferdinand's list of top centre-backs in the tournament:

The Dutch have always produced top-level attacking talent, but usually, the defence is a question mark going into every major tournament. That no longer appears to be the case—the duo of Vlaar and De Vrij (and let's not forget about Bruno Martins Indi) is solid.

 

The Future Is Bright

Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

The trio of Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie once again failed to bring home the World Cup trophy, and given their advanced age, it seems unlikely it will ever happen.

They'll each be 34 by the time the next World Cup arrives, and even if they make the team, they won't be as effective as they were for the bulk of their career. The Dutch Golden Generation is slowly coming to an end, and this year's squad featured a host of players most casual fans had never even heard of.

But players like Memphis Depay, De Vrij, Martins Indi, Jordy Clasie and Daley Blind made their mark on the World Cup, and most of them will likely be rewarded with big-money transfer moves to top clubs.

Bleacher Report's Dutch football insider Elko Born knows Guus Hiddink will be the next man in charge, and he too believes the future looks very bright for this team:

Saying the team overachieved in Brazil isn't an insult—it's a massive compliment. The experience of playing at a major tournament can only aid the talented youngsters on the Dutch squad, and this could be a very dangerous team by the time the 2018 World Cups arrives.

 

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