Sorry Brazil have nothing to be optimistic about

Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:19pm EDT
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By Brian Homewood

(Reuters) - Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was hoping to send an optimistic message to the team's supporters in Saturday’s World Cup third-place match but their lifeless performance in a 3-0 defeat by the Netherlands on Saturday did exactly the opposite.

Brazil's defensive woes manifested themselves once again as they fell 2-0 behind in less than 20 minutes, but their problems were evident all over the field.

Without the injured Neymar, their only world-class player, Brazil were confused in midfield and toothless in attack, lacking any sort of spark or creativity.

Even taking into account the possibility that Brazil were still shell-shocked after their 7-1 mauling by Germany on Tuesday, it was an alarmingly lackluster display for a team that has always had talent, whatever their tactics.

The meek manner in which they capitulated to a Dutch side that had failed to score in their previous two matches, including two periods of extra time, was extraordinary given the rich history of Brazilian football.

The defense once again cracked under the slightest hint of pressure.

Central defender Thiago Silva, whose return after suspension was meant to stiffen the backline, gave away a penalty and was booked after 90 seconds for a tripping Arjen Robben as he sped towards goal, handing the Dutch a early lead.

Another disaster followed when David Luiz's attempted to head the ball clear but it feel straight to Daley Blind who fired into the top corner.   Continued...

Brazil's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari reacts as his team plays against the Netherlands. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino