Nobody likes the 3rd place match, it’s a loser’s consolation prize, but being part of the podium is still important when years later people check the history of the World Cup. In addition, this is about the honor of a team and a nation that have given everything. As hosts, the least Brazil could do for this World Cup that has already divided their nation because of economical and political reasons, would be to win that 3rd place spot.
It’s not Brazil’s tradition to finish 3rd, but at least it gives them something. On the other hand, this will be the 2nd time that the Dutch will fight for the 3rd place spot, after failing to achieve it in 1998 against Croatia. No matter what people say, the Oranje was one of the finest teams we saw in this tournament and have given us reasons to be thankful to some players and hopeful for others. As this will be Louis van Gaal’s last match as a coach for the Oranje, I’m sure he would like to leave with a win. Let’s see what his men can do to defeat Brazll.
Don’t Rotate the Squad
While this match can be a good prize for players who haven’t been on the pitch much, it would be a harsh thing to do for the starters that brought the team here. Unless all of them asked van Gaal for some rest, it wouldn’t make any sense to take them out from this last fight. This is probably the last World Cup that Sneijder, Robben, and van Persie will play and they sure played a big role in the success of the team. Brazil will most likely not rotate their squad and do everything to give their people that 3rd place, which is why the Dutch should do the same. The youngsters will have their chance soon enough, probably in the next major tournament, which is the Euro 2016.
Go for the 4-3-3 Formation
Brazil don’t have Neymar, but they still have very dangerous men. On top of that, The Canarinha have Marcelo and Maicon (or Dani Alves,) who bring constant support and pose a threat to any defense. However, Brazil will only reach Cillesen if they control the midfield. If de Jong is fully fit, he should play with two partners, as piling up in the middle will give them a chance to control the game and create more opportunities. Germany controlled the midfield and Brazil felt hopeless, that’s the key for the Oranje.
Play as if it Were the Final
In the last three 3rd place matches we’ve seen 14 goals. That’s a lot considering that none of the teams are earning a trophy, but that doesn’t mean they should play with less intensity. This is the last chance you get to tell the world that you stayed true to your philosophy and maybe even deserved to be in the real final match. Brazil is coming from their biggest defeat ever and they will want to block that out and come out swinging. The Dutch should do the same and not underestimate Brazil. That catastrophic loss doesn’t happen all the time and they will regain Thiago Silva, which gives them more security in defense. If van Gaal can convince their men that this match isn’t one to be taken lightly, the Dutch can win it.
This match has some history, as the last three times they have met have been in important rounds. In 1994, Brazil beat the Dutch 3-2 in the quarter-finals and went all the way and conquered their 4th title. In 1998, they drew 1-1 in the semi-finals, but Brazil won the penalty shootout, reaching the final and losing it against Zinedine Zidane’s France. The most recent one was in 2010, when they met in quarter-finals and the Oranje beat them 2-1 and were able to reach the final later on. It will definitely be a tough match and it doesn’t have a clear favorite if you consider all the factors.