World Cup Third-Place Match Preview, Prediction: Brazil vs. Netherlands

Let’s face it; Brazil need a pick me up. What better way of forgetting that German thrashing than ending one of the most memorable World Cup tournaments in recent memory with a win?

That is what the host nation will be shooting for when they take on the Netherlands for Saturday’s third-place encounter.

By now, the story has been well documented; Brazil took on a shelling en route to a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany. The result capped off a rather lukewarm showing for the home nation that featured a win over Chile in penalty kicks and a close-call victory over Colombia in the knockout rounds.

The Netherlands, on the other hand, have been fairly brilliant against high level opponents like Spain and Chille, but struggled against the more defensive minded, counter attacking sides this tournament. Their dismantling of Spain to kick off the World Cup put them as early favorites for the final, but they struggled to find their offensive footing in the knockout rounds against the stout defense of Mexico, Costa Rica, and ultimately, Argentina.

Historically, losing teams dread the third place encounter. Netherland’s boss Louis van Gaal is no different. “I think that this match should never be played,” he told reporters. “The worst thing is that there is a chance you are going to lose twice in a row. And in a tournament in which you have played so marvelously well, you go home as a loser.”

While typically a widely held belief, Brazil has a chance at redemption against an opponent who simply has nothing to play for. As if Felipe Scolari’s side didn’t have enough to worry about with their blowout loss to Germany, chief rival Argentina is fighting for the Cup on their home soil.

Indeed, the fans will be looking for something to cheer for, and a victory will make a typically overlooked third place match an event at this year’s tournament.

Prediction: Brazil 3-1 Netherlands

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