By Ollie Irish
Well, I predicted Brazil would win the World Cup, so of course they haven’t won the World Cup – I’m more cursed than Nike, or that’s how it feels sometimes when it comes to predicting football matters.
That aside, why did Brazil lose to the Dutch really? It wasn’t because the Dutch were better, though they were lively in the second half. It was because of complacency, mostly – after going 1-0 up in the first half through Robinho (and what an amazing through ball to reach him), Brazil appeared to think it was job done, as if there was no possible way they could lose and not go on to fulful their World Cup destiny.
Some dodgy keeping by Julio Cesar, a bit of persistence by the men in orange, and then an act of gross stupidity by Felipe Melo put paid to Dunga’s side. For all Brazil’s excellent defensive displays earlier in the tournament, they folded when it mattered most.
Few Brazilians will miss Dunga, who has since been sacked because of the quarter-final defeat. His prosaic, somewhat joyless style of football was always difficult to love.
The Dutch haven’t exactly shone in this tournament but only Uruguay – minus key striker Luis Suarez (more on him later) – stand between them and a place in the final. They work hard (in the case of Dirk Kuyt, very very hard) and in Wesley Sneijder have a big-game player who can turn any match with a deft flick of his boot or head. I wouldn’t have picked them out as winners before the tournament – dark horses, as ever – but only Germany appear more confident.
I’d love to see a Netherlands v Germany final to echo 1974, only with the Dutch gaining revenge this time – and that’s a difficult call, as this year’s Germany are fantastic and admirable.