Netherlands – Brazil, Afterthoughts

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After both teams have been criticized during the tournament for playing dull and un-imaginative football, far from the traditions both nations’ sides have shown in the past, Dunga’s “European” style didn’t work against a Netherlands team that have won every match during this tournament but have been far from impressive during those four wins.

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Brazil scored early after Melo found Robinho with a fantastic pass, cutting through the puzzled Dutch defense. A friend of mine said two seconds later : Robinho is one of the top 3 players in the world, together with Ronaldo and Messi. Yeah right.

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Brazil did show us some nice dazzle with a few combinations between Kaka and the friends, but made a huge mistake by slowing down the pace of the game. The Dutch didn’t really show up in the first half, but Brazil, or should I say Dunga, didn’t strike the iron while it was still hot, instead letting Sneijder and Van Bommel become more and more comfortable, going down 1-0 behind at half time with the belief that something can be done.

The best diver not excited with Robinho
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Brazil came out flat during the second half, and despite nothing special coming from the Dutch, Brazil’s lack of killer instinct  and one horrible mistake by Julio Cesar lost them the match. Felipe Melo shaved Sneijder’s cross, levelling things at 1-1, and from then on Brazil lost its grasp on the match. Melo, Silva, Alves and Kaka couldn’t regain dominance in the middle, while the Netherlands grew in confidence, with Sneijder feeding Van Persie and the diving Robben again and again. Eventually, Sneijder was the man to put the final nail in the Selecao 2010 World Cup coffin, heading in Kuyt’s flick.

Felipe Melo, never a symbol of tranquility, lost it when he stepped on Arjen Robben, and got sent off. Brazil were lost, and were lucky not to end this game with a much heavier defeat, as Robben and Van Persie continued their confused antics when getting near to Cesar’s defenseless goal.

Didn't Deliever
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Now What? Dunga won’t stay as head coach probably – failures, meaning not winning the World Cup don’t mean more years for the reigning head coach. Brazil’s failure comes down to two players – Robinho and Kaka, the two most important players on this side and the only creative force on a mostly tactically disciplined side. They both had bad seasons, with Robinho even going back to Brazil, and both had short moments of brilliance in South Africa, not enough to get them through the quarter final hurdle for a second straight time.

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The Netherlands have a relatively comfortable draw, with either Uruguay or Ghana facing them next. It’s the World Cup Semi Final, so nothing is easy, but still, the Dutch are favored to reach the final. Van Bommel and Robben’s antics were borderline disgusting, and it’s time that the people in charge start retroactively punishing players for diving and feigning injuries. It’s becoming a disease in this beautiful game, which has its flaws and needs fixing. Back to the Oranje – Nothing too brilliant, but like we’ve said all along, maybe the new formula, which means good defense, strong midfield and momentary brilliance from Sneijder and Robben, is the right one to finally win a World Cup.

The Goals


Melo Own Goal

Wesley Sneijder

Melo Sent Off