In the much awaited quarterfinal match between Brazil and Netherlands, the witty and patient Dutch outmanoeuvred the five time champions to clinch a semifinal spot. The boys from South America were clearly the favourites in this match, but they were sent crashing out from the tournament as Wesley Sneijder scored the winner to send coach Dunga and his Brazilian team back home.
The match was predicted to be an exciting one and it lived up to its expectations as the South American and European giants clashed in the first quarterfinal. There was enough football during the 90 minutes. But the Brazilians' second half performance and action was really unexpected and uncalled for.
Not only did the Samba boys lose the match, they also lost their respect among the thousands of football fans supporting them.
Dunga's tactics failed completely, as his idea of playing a defensive style in the second half fell flat on its face and lead to Brazil's ouster from the tournament. The Brazilians started the match well and were in complete control during the first 45 minutes.
The beautiful game was in full flow and Netherland's were only left defending their goal for most of the first half. Robinho scored a superb goal within 10 minutes and everything looked hunky-dory until the second half.
Dunga employed his much criticized European style of play, and Brazil started the second half defensively. That gave the Dutch an upper hand, who utilised the chances and levelled courtesy of an own goal by Felipe Melo, although Brazilian goalie Julio Cesar was blamed for mistiming the flight of the ball.
The equalizer motivated the Dutch further and they started pressing down Brazil more and more. Such constant threats exposed Brazil's defense, which led to the second Dutch goal by Sneijder from a header.
After conceding the second goal, and falling back, the much loved, fair-playing Brazil started tackling hard, leading to Felipe Melo's red card after he intentionally stomped Robben with his boots. With the likes of Robinho and Kaka also resorting to fouls and ill tempered outbursts, Brazil resembled a European team, and not the fair playing South Americans who are so widely loved all around the world for their clean game.
The Dutch succeeded in their negative football tactics, as Brazil were frustrated and lost their temper, as well as the plot. They resorted to physical football and not their usual Samba style. That led to their undoing and Netherlands did enough to hold onto the lead and book a semifinal berth for themselves.
With the loss to Netherlands, Brazil have been ousted from the World Cup in the quarterfinals on two consecutive occasions. The ouster should serve as a wake-up call for Brazil. Dunga also needs to re-evaluate his tactics, as his plan of changing Brazil's samba style to European style has failed miserably.
Today's match proved again that Brazil are better in their original style of attacking football rather than the defensively wary European style.
Brazil played the beautiful game superbly in the first half and elated their fans all around the world. But their second half performances and actions on the pitch not only cost them their World Cup dream, but also the respect that they had earned over the years.