Brazil undone by poor defending, Dutch take third
By Peter Rutherford
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Dreadful defending cost Brazil dear yet again on Saturday as the World Cup hosts slumped to a 3-0 loss to the Netherlands in a playoff for third place, underlining just how far the 'Selecao' have fallen down world soccer's pecking order.
Four days after a humiliating 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany that shocked the world and left home fans stunned and angry, the hosts' porous defense shipped three more shoddy goals in Brasilia, taking their tally for the tournament to 14.
Sixty-three games have now been played in Brazil and while there were fears protests and demonstrations could disrupt the tournament, the 2014 World Cup has been relatively trouble free.
Concerns that Russia's preparations for the 2018 version could suffer due to the political crisis in Ukraine were dismissed on Saturday by Vitaly Mutko, Russia's sports minister who is also a member of FIFA's executive committee.
"I can't see any major issues," he said in Rio de Janeiro. "It's a different subject and one that will not interfere in the preparations for the World Cup at all."
While home fans were left disappointed in Brasilia, raining boos down on the players after the final whistle, things could get much, much worse on Sunday with Argentina just one win away from lifting the World Cup at Brazil's sacred Maracana.
The prospect terrifies Brazilian soccer fans and they are certain to throw their support behind Germany in Sunday's final.
"Tomorrow, we will play the most important match of our lives for our country," Argentina captain Lionel Messi said in a message on facebook. Continued...