Brazil blunder again to hand Dutch third place
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.
The home fans found their negative voices shortly after as Thiago Silva's defensive partner David Luiz under no pressure sent a header straight to Daley Blind, who took two touches near the penalty spot before firing home in the 16th minute.
It was the ninth goal Brazil had conceded in 95 traumatic minutes and the anger again came pouring down from the terraces, with boos ringing out at the hosts' shambolic efforts.
Scolari, who will report to the Brazilian Football Confederation before deciding on his future, made changes at the interval as Brazil tried to fashion a way back into the game but they only found more misery.
Frustrations boiled over in a series of rash challenges with substitute Fernandinho particularly guilty.
Oscar followed his team mate into the book as he became the first player at the tournament to be shown a yellow card for diving when he appealed for a penalty with 20 minutes left.
All the while, the Dutch, who were forced into a late switch to their lineup when midfielder Wesley Sneijder was injured in the warm-up, threatened more goals on the counter and their play drew applause from the appreciative home crowd.
Showing no ill effects from their heartbreaking loss to Argentina in a penalty shootout on Wednesday, the Dutch poured forward in the closing stages and were rewarded with a late third in stoppage time from Wijnaldum.
The midfielder, afforded far too much room by the Brazil defense, turned in Daryl Janmaat's cross from the right.
The result meant they became the first Netherlands side to complete a World Cup undefeated in normal and extra time as Louis Van Gaal signed off from his final match in charge before taking over as coach of Manchester United with a victory.
"And as far as the tournament is concerned 15 goals in seven matches and four conceded, I think we can look back on a very successful tournament and I am proud of my players and my staff," he said.
(Editing by Ken Ferris)