Brazil may have a tough afternoon ahead. Just four days ago, they were demolished 7-1 by a fantastic Germany side, with Oscar’s goal in extra-time not even qualifying as a consolation. Now, they must face Netherlands to compete for third place in the World Cup, an honor that seems dubious to most.
The hosts also must do this in front of a crowd of fans who might well be antagonistic, raining boos upon the side that humiliated themselves in the semifinal. Many Brazil supporters left at halftime of that limp defeat, but many of the ones that did stay clapped Germany, indicating their disgust and dismay at the Seleção.
Usually, third-place matches do not carry that much pressure for those participating. After all, they’ve already lost out on the chance to hoist the trophy, so they can throw caution into the wind — or at least, attackers forward. But this particular game has some significance for Brazil. They have a demoralizing defeat to get past, and the best way to do that is to put on a better performance.
Preferably, a winning one. Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari insists he did well to bring the team into the tournament’s top four. But at the same time, he wants his players to do their best to give the country something more to be proud of. Scolari said:
I know my career will be marked by this defeat but we have an obligation to move on and think about the next goal, which in this case is the match for third place on Saturday in Brasília. I know it’s a much smaller dream than we all wanted but we have to honor the shirt of the national team.
Brazil face Netherlands at the Estádio Nacional this afternoon. Kickoff is 4 p.m. ET.