Photo: Brazil troop off the field after their hammering against Germany (Getty Images)
After suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Germany in their semi-final, Brazil will be hoping to put on a good show in the third place match against the Netherlands. Luiz Felipe Scolari has come under attack for his tactics against the Germans while many are suggesting that this Selecao team is not as talented as they were made to believe. The Dutch will be looking to add salt to the wounds as the players look to send off their manager on a high.
Louis van Gaal will be managing the Netherlands for the final time as he is now preparing to take over the hot seat at Manchester United. The 62 year old tactical genius is one of the main reasons the Oranje made it to the semi-finals with his tactical changes and thoughtful approach to each game. His investment in youth has now set the foundation for the next generation as the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Dirk Kuyt, Arjen Robben, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie are entering the twilight of their careers. Memphis Depay, Georgino Wijnaldum and of course the injured Kevin Strootman leads the way for the next generation of Dutch stars.
For Brazil this fixture is about bringing back a smile on the faces of their people. The Brazilian population has been in mourning and shock since their 7-1 drubbing but winning this fixture will ease some of that pain. Fred has come under a lot of scrutiny for his poor performances at the World Cup with many believing that the team is ordinary in the absence of star man Neymar. The Barcelona attacker suffered a fractured vertebrae from a Juan Camilio Zuniga challenge in the quarter-final. It was a big loss for the Selecao who suffered in his absence and must now show that they can perform at a high level without their poster boy.
The fans can expect many goals in this fixtures with not much on the line. Both teams should go on the offensive searching for goals and trying to entertain. This is an encounter where many players who haven't featured so far could get a starting birth to get a taste of World Cup football. Brazil will however hope to come away with victory after such a humiliation while the Oranje will be hoping to leave a World Cup tournament with a victory.
Scolari may opt to field Jefferson in goal while Thiago Silva and David Luiz may get the nod in the heart of defense. Dani Alves should start at right back even though Napoli's Henrique may get the chance to stretch his legs on the world stage. Marcelo may get the cut at left back so PSG's Maxwell could get a chance to show what he can do at left back.
Luiz Gustavo may find himself with a new partner in midfield in the form of Hernanes with Oscar expected to be the man employed in the playmaking role. Willian may edge Hulk to a place on the left side while Bernard should retain his place after showing some character in the semi-final thrashing. After a poor showing throughout the tournament, Fred should find himself on the bench with Jo in line for a starting role.
Van Gaal could call upon Tim Krul for duties between the sticks to be shielded by big Ron Vlaar and Stefan De Vrij in central defense. Daley Blind could get the nod at left back with Paul Verhaegh on the opposite side completing the back four.
Jordi Clasie should get a start in the middle of the park with Georgino Wijnaldum and Leroy Fer partnering him in a three man midfield. Huntelaar could be the man leading the line after van Gaal said van Persie was exhausted in the semi-final loss against Argentina. Robben should provide support for the Schalke striker as well as the speedy Jeremain Lens.
As this fixture builds the anticipation for the big clash in the Maracana, both teams will hope to entertain. Traditionally this match has lots of goals and this one should be no different. Brazil will be desperate to end their campaign with a victory but the Dutch are also keen to send van Gaal off to Old Trafford on a high. The goal tally in the tournament should increase by quite a few and the neutrals should be in for a good treat.