Brazil will look to restore a degree of pride on Saturday when they play the Netherlands in the World Cup 2014 third place playoff game. The World Cup hosts have been in a state of shock since their 1-7 demolition by Germany in the semifinals saw them crash out, and they will have the chance to jump right back on the saddle today and show their fans they are proud to represent their national team.
Today's game will start at 4 p.m. ET and can be watched on TV on the ESPN network, or online through free live stream (details below).
In team news Brazil will be relieved to welcome back captain Thiago Silva following his suspension. Their defense was at the core of their embarrassing performance against Germany, and it was clear how much they missed Silva.
There are rumors that coach Luiz Felipe Scolari will make a number of changes to the side that lost earlier this week, and many have claimed a number of players from that massive Germany defeat may never play for the team again.
Holland meanwhile are also expected to make a number of changes from the side that lost to Argentina on penalties in their semifinal. Memphis Depay and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar are expected to make the starting 11, and goalkeeper Michel Vorm – the only player in the Dutch squad yet to play at this year's World Cup – could finally feature.
As what happens at every World Cup, ahead of the third pace playoff there are a chorus of complaints from people about the purpose of this game. Both losing semifinalists are bitterly disappointed at falling at the final hurdle, and coming in third is absolutely no consolation. The third place playoff – first introduced in the 1934 World Cup – is derided by many as irrelevant and painful for the teams to take part in, and the teams normally featured are a complete mix up from those that featured when the teams were pushing to make the Final.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal is one of the staunchest complainants against the third place playoff. He has said ahead of the game: "There is only one award that counts and that is becoming world champions. The worst thing is that there is a chance you are going to lose twice in a row. And in a tournament in which you have played so marvelously well you go home as a loser."
Arguably the Brazilian team have more to play for today. Although a win today will do little to repay for the embarrassment against Germany, they have the chance to show they have pride in their shirt and try and show that their performance in the semifinals was just a freak occurrence.
Brazilian boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has said following the Germany debacle: "I know my career will be marked by this defeat but we have an obligation to move on, thinking about the next goal. I know it's a much smaller dream than we all wanted but we have to honor the shirt of the national team."
Brazil vs Netherlands will kick off at 4 p.m. ET and can be watched on TV on the ESPN network or online through free live stream by clicking here.