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Jul 12 2014

2014 World Cup Third Place Match: Brazil – Netherlands

This afternoon Brazil will try to salvage its World Cup with a win in the Third Place Match against Netherlands (Holland).

Semifinal Losers Will Vie for Third Place, Like It or Not

World Cup 2014: Brazil and Netherlands to Play for Third Place, a Game No One Wants

Brazil lost its World Cup semifinal match to Germany by a devastating 7-1 score. The Netherlands lost its game against Argentina in a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of tense scoreless play.

After each match, the losing players wandered off the field, glassy eyed, crushed that their World Cup dreams had ended so close to the final.

The last thing any of them wanted to think about for a long time was soccer.

But their World Cup is not over. Instead, the losing semifinalists have had to haul their tired bodies and their dashed hopes to Brasília, where they will compete one more time on Saturday, for third place.

The third-place game is an oddity that many coaches, players and fans wish would fade into history. Netherlands Coach Louis van Gaal minced no words about the game.

“I think that this match should never be played,” he said. “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.”

C’est la vie, M. van Gaal. The man needs to stop whining about who went first and why.

Van Gaal remains convinced, though, that the World Cup was set up to favour Brazil. “I will stick to the facts,” he said. “The facts are that Brazil started first. And Brazil again has played first again and we played a day later.

“These are the facts. I am not going to beat around the bush. Then you know what the implications are if that is the case. The question is why? I think Scolari should think about that if he wants to do that and is allowed to do that.”

Van Gaal’s annoyance has clearly been heightened by the fact that Brazil have had another day to prepare for the third-place play-off. “We have one day less than Brazil,” Van Gaal added. “We have to get into shape in two and a half days, which physically is hard.”

Although much of the protesting has slowed, the corruption and political controversy of the game continued:

World Cup 2014: Executive Is Called Fugitive in Ticket-Selling Case

by Seth Kugel, The New York Times

A police investigation into an illegal ticket-selling scheme at the World Cup took a cinematic turn as one of the suspects slipped out of an employee entrance of the luxurious Copacabana Hotel in Rio de Janeiro just minutes before the police arrived to arrest him.

The suspect, Ray Whelan – an executive with Match Services, the company contracted by FIFA to sell match tickets and hospitality packages – can be seen on security footage casually following his lawyer, Fernando Fernandes, out an employee entrance of the hotel on Thursday afternoon. Police officers arrived minutes later with an arrest warrant. Whelan had been arrested earlier in the week and then released by a judge after a habeas corpus request. [..]

The police have been investigating an alleged Ticket Mafia, as the Brazilian press has called it, that supposedly acquired and sold World Cup match tickets and packages for well above list prices. The Rio de Janeiro police have recorded 50,000 phone calls, including around 900 calls between Whelan and Mohamadou Lamine Fofana, an Algerian who officials said was the mastermind of the operation, the police investigator Fabio Barucke told The Associated Press.

Investigators have accused 12 men of charges including ticket scalping, criminal conspiracy and, in three cases, bribing police officers in a sting operation. All but Whelan and José Massih, who assisted investigators during his initial arrest, are in police custody.

Brazilians Grumble and Take Stock After Crushing World Cup Loss

by Simon Romero, The New York Times

The hosting of the World Cup has been politicized from the moment FIFA, the scandal-tarred organization that oversees global soccer, awarded the tournament to Brazil in 2007. Back then, the economy was booming and the president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, viewed the Cup as an opportunity to celebrate Brazil’s achievements on the global stage.

Now the economy is sluggish, in its fourth consecutive year of slow growth. While the feat of lifting millions out of poverty over the past decade remains intact, Mr. Lula da Silva’s handpicked successor, Dilma Rousseff, has grappled with widespread protests over political corruption and spending on lavish stadiums.

Just last week, a survey suggested that Brazilians were softening in their views of the Cup, buoyed by a series of stunning matches and a lack of major problems in the hosting of the tournament itself. Antigovernment protests had dwindled substantially, even though discontent continued to smolder over the public financing of stadiums when other large-scale projects remained unfinished.

On the lighter side, if you liked the Lego movies and videos, The Guardian has an on going series of videos that highlight the best and worst moments of global sports, called “Brick by Brick.” The last several have focused on the 2014 World Cup starting with the first game between Brazil and Croatia to Suárez playing hero and villain, poster-boy Neymar’s injury and Brazil’s humiliating exit

The coverage for today’s game is on ESPN with pre-game hype starting at 3:30 PM EDT and kick off at 4 PM EDT.

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    Brazil

    12 Julio César

    23 Maicon

    14 Maxwell

    17 Luiz Gustavo

    3 Thiago Silva

    4 David Luiz

    16 Ramires

    8 Paulinho

    21 Jô

    11 Oscar

    19 Willian

    Netherlands

    1 Jasper Cillessen

    15 Dirk Kuyt

    5 Daley Blind

    4 Bruno Martins Indi

    2 Ron Vlaar

    3 Stefan De Vrij

    20 Georginio Wijnaldum

    16 Jordy Clasie

    10 Wesley Sneijder

    9 Robin Van Persie

    11 Arjen Robben

    Referee: Djamel Haimoudi (Algeria)

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    World Cup third-place play-off: an unloved match that can stir the soul

    by Scott Murray, The Guardian

    Brazil v Holland for the World Cup consolation prize may appear a flawed spectacle but history shows it can still deliver

    The third-place play-off at the World Cup is notorious as the match no player wants to contest, no manager wants to oversee and few punters want to watch. Its reputation is hardly surprising, as it is an unpalatable proposition for two disillusioned teams: a contest between two squads who have had their chance to play in the greatest game of all snatched away at the last and who just want to go home.

    Yet despite its fundamentally flawed premise, this unloved fixture has delivered time and again, cementing a couple of legends, breaking a record or two, setting the scene for one of the greatest goals of all time and even providing a little succour to bruised souls.

    Introduced in 1934, the third-place match took a mere 24 seconds to deliver its first goal, Ernst Lehner of Germany getting the match against Austria’s famous Wunderteam, as well as the entire concept, off to a flyer. It was the fastest World Cup goal at the time; it is still the third fastest. Lehner also scored just before the break, his shot the decider in a 3-2 win.

    Brazil took third in 1938, 4-2 over Sweden, their first World Cup star Leonidas scoring twice to finish the tournament as top scorer, a bittersweet consolation after missing the semi-final defeat by Italy. Some insist their manager, Adhemar Pimenta, had foolishly rested Leonidas for a final that never came, though injury is the more likely cause, given the striker had played some of Brazil’s first-round match against Poland on a muddy pitch with no boots, and then been battered all over the shop by Yugoslavia in the quarters. [..]

    Since then, we have come full circle to that 1934 decider. In 2002, the third-place final once again saw the record for the World Cup’s quickest goal broken, Hakan Sukur breaching South Korea’s defence in 10.8 seconds to set Turkey on their way to a 3-2 win. After which Germany once more made third place their own, with victories over Portugal in 2006 and Uruguay in 2010.

    That third place in 2006 is particularly notable today because German fans famously used the occasion to lift themselves and their team after a crushing semi-final defeat on home soil, turning what threatened to be a gloomy, introspective wake into a raucous, cathartic celebration. The depression lifted, it arguably set them on a long journey to the Maracanã. It will be fascinating to see if Brazil and the Brasília crowd have been taking notes.

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    Brazil’s goal keep in grey; Holland’s in bright green.

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    He has been replaced in the lie up by Jonathan De Guzman

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     photo 13braned15-master675_zpsb46b81c2.jpg

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    Hernanes quotes passages from the Bible to his team-mates before matches. He is known as The Prophet. He has also just taken Robben right out of it and somehow gets away without the flash of yellow in his face.

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    will stay for the awarding of the 3rd Place Cup

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    84′: He’ll Go Far

    You have to hand it to the Dutch – they’ve really exceeded all expectations at this tournament. Louis van Gaal, the angry bird who’s so angry he wears his nest on his head, has the makings of a fine Premier League manager, hogging the credit when the team plays well, and blaming the players when it doesn’t. He’ll go far.

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