While arguably bittersweet in nature, The Netherlands have ended their 2014 FIFA World Cup tenure in style, beating host nation Brazil 3-0 in their third-place playoff match on Sunday morning at the Estadio Nacional de Brasilia.
Unlucky not to progress to the World Cup final after losing to Argentina in a penalty shoot-out early last week, The Netherlands were looking to assert their dominance early against a Brazilian side who were humiliated 7-1 at the hands of Germany in their semi-final.
Pressing into their opponents’ half from the opening whistle, the Dutch took lead in just the third minute when returning Brazilian captain Thiago Silva was judged to have pulled down Arjen Robben in the box; the resulting penalty comfortably slotted by Robin van Persie.
Unable to break off the back foot, Brazil’s defensive weaknesses were exposed once again when the Dutch broke through for their second in the seventeenth minute.
Jonathan De Guzman secured possession just inside the Brazilian’s half, working down the winger and crossing into the mouth of Julio Cesar’s goal, from where the ball was headed by defender David Luiz directly to an unmarked Daley Blind who was offered ample time to set and bury the ball into the top right-hand corner.
While 2-0 down before the 20 minute mark, Brazil was offered some peace in that the Oranje were not nearly as potent in attack as the German’s had been early last week; finding the break at the still reachable two goal deficit.
Attempting to push into the Dutch half open returning in the second half, Brazil were offered a few reasonable chances via strike pair Jo and Oscar, however each effort was comfortably subbed out by the well-trialled defence and rock-solid keeping of Jasper Cillessen.
Caught on the counter midway through the second half, The Netherlands were given arguably their biggest scare when a Blind challenge on Oscar in the box resulted in the referee blowing his whistle and reaching for the cards, however it was the Brazilian attacker whose name was recorded for diving, rather than pointing to the spot.
Forced from the field after injuring himself during the same challenge, Blind was replaced by Feyenoord defender Daryl Janmaat, who played provider for his nation’s third in injury time when a pinpoint accurate cross was finished by Georginio Wijnaldum.
Undefeated at home for nearly 40 years prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil bowed out of the tournament in the worst way possible; registering two defeats at a cost of 10 goals.
The Netherlands will now seek a new manager in preparation for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, as current Coach Louis van Gaal takes up a position at the helm of Premier League giants Manchester United.