Brazil, this time last week, were revelling at the possibility of beating Germany in the semifinal and with it reaching that dream 2014 FIFA World Cup final in Rio De Janeiro. What a huge difference seven days makes. Now, after that nightmare semifinal defeat to Germany, Brazil head into a nobody-wants-to-play-it third-place playoff in Brasilia against a Netherlands side as downcast and reluctant to take part in this consolation prize of a game.
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The third-place playoff is set for a 5 pm local time (1.30 am IST, 9 pm BST, 4 pm ET) start, with live telecast on Sony Six in India. The match can also be watched via live streaming online in India HERE. The semi can be live streamed by viewers in Netherlands HERE while viewers in Brazil can live stream the action online HERE. Viewers in the US can catch the action on ESPN and ABC, with the option to live stream the game HERE or HERE. UK viewers can catch the action in BBC and ITV while the matches can also be live streamed HERE or HERE. Catch the game in Australia HERE, while South Africa viewers can do so HERE. Viewers in Africa can catch the action HERE, while audience in the Middle East and North Africa can live stream the match HERE.
For Brazil, at least there is something tangible to play for – redemption and a restoration of some of that pride which was sent into the deep depths of misery following that astonishing 7-1 defeat at the hands of a marauding Germany.
Luiz Felipe Scolari and his men need to find a little bit of extra fire in them to make things right just that little bit after sending their fans into collective depression, not just by losing the semifinal, but primarily in the manner in which it was done.
"We have to send an optimistic message to our supporters," Scolari said. "We are still among the four best teams and it's not the end of the world. We have tried to lift the players and look on the Netherlands game as our main dream now. At least we have a chance to give the Brazilian people a bit of joy."
Joy was unbound heading into the semifinal against Germany before it all went horribly wrong. Brazil showed their defensive naivety on the biggest stage, and the return of skipper Thiago Silva should shore up that defence a little bit ahead of the Netherlands match.
While Neymar was a tremendous miss for Brazil, it was Silva's absence that was felt a lot more as David Luiz and co. went to pieces on that unforgettable day in Belo Horizonte.
"We have the highest possible level of motivation [to win the game]," Silva said. "Obviously we have a different goal now and it's not first place we are fighting for but our honour and dignity.
"When you wear that shirt with the five stars on the front you have to respect it. I have spent many sleepless nights thinking about this World Cup and about the final at the Maracana but it was not to be."
Netherlands were left equally disappointed after their semifinal ended with a penalty shootout loss to Argentina. Holland had exceeded all expectations to make it all the way to the semifinals, but they just could not hold their nerve in the shootout lottery, following a 0-0 finish after extra time, to edge past the South Americans, in what was one of the cagiest, chanceless matches you are ever likely to see at the World Cup.
Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal made his feelings clear about playing in the third-place playoff right after the loss to Argentina, but that winning spirit in the newly appointed Manchester United manager will undoubtedly take over come Saturday, with the Netherlands determined to finish third for the first time at the World Cup after losing their only previous third-place playoff match to Croatia in 1998.
"It was very sad, very sad, and a dream has been broken and this dream is not going to come back because it was all about being number one," Van Gaal said about missing the final bus.
"[But] we haven't lost a match. I have had two-and-a-half days to analyse and watch Brazil and I don't want to leave anything to chance so I have been focusing on Brazil and I hope I can prepare my players in such a way that we can play a good match, win the game and write history.
"This is my last match and the players may want to give me a present in the form of victory so we can finish the tournament undefeated."
Team news: Brazil: Scolari admitted he will make a few changes to his side for the game against Holland, with players who have not featured as much likely to get the nod.
Netherlands: Van Gaal is also likely to give his fringe players a chance to shine from the start, while goalkeeper Michel Vorm, the only Dutch player not to feature so far at this World Cup, will hope to get some minutes.