Brazil blunder again to hand Dutch third place
By Patrick Johnston
BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil signed off from their home World Cup to a cacophony of boos on Saturday as the defensive errors that crushed their bid for a sixth title resurfaced in a shoddy 3-0 loss to the Netherlands in the third-place playoff match.
Robin van Persie, Daley Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum scored the goals for the Dutch but all three were assisted by the battered Brazilians, who suffered back-to-back defeats on home soil for the first time since 1940.
It was another hammer blow to a team still clearly feeling the effects of Tuesday's 7-1 semi-final thrashing by Germany, a record World Cup defeat for the hosts and one of the most extraordinary results in the history of the sport.
"I don’t think we deserved for it to end like this," captain Thiago Silva said in a televised interview.
"We need to apologize to the fans, they booed us at the end, which is normal, they have feelings too. It's very tough."
Silva was one of six changes made by under-fire coach Luiz Felipe Scolari in a bid to fix a frail backline but the skipper gave away a penalty after 90 seconds as the Dutch ripped through their rearguard.
Scolari's loyal captain was fortunate to only receive a yellow card from Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi for pulling back winger Arjen Robben who was put clean through on goal by Van Persie. The center back was clearly the last man, although the offense appeared to occur just outside the penalty area.
Van Persie stepped up to rifle the penalty high into the net to score the Netherlands' first goal since the last 16 as the Brasilia national stadium was left in near-silence by the whirlwind start. Continued...