World Cup Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, July 2, 2010
(All times Eastern)
Netherlands (4-0-0) vs. Brazil (3-0-1), 10 a.m.
Port Elizabeth, South Africa (Sports Network) - Both the Netherlands and
Brazil are known for playing some of the most attractive soccer the world has
The Dutch teams of the 1970s that reached back-to-back World Cup finals were
fantastic to watch, while Brazil has always played with plenty of flair as it
piled up World Cup titles.
But when the two sides get together at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday
for their World Cup quarterfinal match, don't expect to see the typical
fireworks that these two teams normally produce.
Both sides have been much more responsible defensively in South Africa, having
conceded just two goals through their opening four games, and they have gotten
good results with this style as the Dutch have won all four of their games
while Brazil has three wins and a draw.
And while the Netherlands has had little difficulty in navigating its way to
this point in the tournament, manager Bert van Marwijk knows it's about to get
"Against Brazil, perhaps we might be the underdogs for the first time in South
Africa," Van Marwijk said. "But we are here for one reason, to get the big
prize. We have to believe in it. People might have laughed at us when we said
we were capable of winning the World Cup. But you have to show a real
mentality, a constant focus. I think we are showing that."
The Dutch have not produced their typical free-flowing attack, but they also
have not had the services of winger Arjen Robben, who made his first start for
the team in their round of 16 victory over Slovakia after battling a hamstring
Robben scored the opening goal in the 2-1 win, and with the Bayern Munich
winger back in the fold, Van Marwijk is hoping his team can put together a
total team effort on Friday.
"I think we are improving in every aspect but I would like to see everything
converge into one match," he said. "We simply want to win and I don't think we
are doing such a bad job."
Brazil manager Dunga is also doing a good job as he has his team in position
to claim a sixth World Cup title.
Brazil's performance in the group stage was not overly impressive, but a 3-0
win over Chile offered a glimpse at how well this team is capable of playing.
Dunga does have a few injury concerns to deal with as midfield duo Elano and
Felipe Melo are both struggling with ankle problems.
Elano has been ruled out of the match because of the injury, marking the third
straight game he will miss, while Melo's status is still uncertain. Midfielder
Ramires is suspended for the match, leaving Dunga without another option.
Expectations remain high as usual for Brazil, but midfielder Gilberto Silva
knows that his team must be ready for a difficult match.
"We expect a very hard game because Holland have got a quality team with very
good players," Silva said. "We know that if we give them space it will be very
difficult for us and we could have a problem. This is what we want to avoid.
We have played against Holland in these big World Cup matches before and it
will be an emotional game."
While Brazil already owns five World Cup titles, the Dutch are still in search
of their first, and Brazil will do its best to try and derail them again.
The two teams met at the quarterfinal stage in the 1994 World Cup, when Brazil
won 3-2, while they also met four years later in the semifinals, with Brazil
winning on penalty kicks.
"The mood in the squad is very good at the moment, everyone is enjoying a lot
what we're doing for our country," Silva said. "Everyone is hungry to achieve
one more trophy for Brazil. This is what we talk about all the time."
07/01 12:54:55 ET