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2014 World Cup Final Countdown: Netherlands Settles For Third Spot

2014 World Cup Final Countdown: Netherlands Settles For Third Spot

Netherlands hopes of lifting the trophy will have to wait for four (4) more years as its South American counterpart, Argentina, stole their chance of reaching the finals.

 

Recap

For the second time around, Netherlands found themselves trapped in a nail biting penalty shoot-out. The squad was unable to convert its chances during the 105-minute acid test as Argentina stepped up to the challenge of making them bleed on the pitch.

 

Considering what they had to go through to enter the semis, the shootout should have been a piece of cake for the Oranjes. Yet, much to the disappointment of many, Sergio Romero came fully prepared.

 

Romero’s denial of Ron Vlaar signaled the collapsed of Netherlands dream, whereas the Argentinians were in cloud nine. The latter were hopeful that this tournament will end their long-time World Cup drought—a drought that lasted for more than two (2) decades.
When Wesley Sneijder missed, the triumphant chants of the La Albiceleste grew louder. Dirk Kuyt tried to silence the already jubilant crowd, but Maxi Rodriguez, determined to put Argentina into the pedestal of football greatness, converted the nation’s last penalty after which a great riot of relief, joy and excitement burst in Sao Paulo.

 

Argentina advanced. The Netherlands were defeated.

 

Where it went wrong

Netherlands lost the attacking prowess that made them a frightening beast on the pitch. The squad was more tamed and only little traces of that scoring machine, which trounced the defending champion, Spain can be seen from them.

 

None of the spectacular antics of the Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie tandem was shown. Likewise, Wesley Snejder’s, who has been persistent in clinching points for the group, was nowhere to be found. He turned into a phantom, which was content with simply keeping the ball to their side.

 

But if there is anything that readily raises question is whether Louis van Gaal made the right decision of keeping Jasper Cillessen. He (van Gaal) substituted him during the shootout onslaught against Costa Rica and chose Tim Krul to take his spot. Why did he not do the same? The Argentina faceoff was more important. Certainly, what transpired during the match reflects a sudden lapse of judgment from the tactician.

 

Playoff for third place

Netherlands’ performance in this World Cup has been spectacular. Unfortunately, they fell short from what was expected from them. At the very least, the squad is expected to end as the competition’s runner-up again. But what is done is already done. Currently, their only road to redemption was to outlast Brazil.

 

Netherlands has the edge in terms of the depth of their team form. But they must be careful. Thiago Silva, the core of Brazil’s defence shall play and he will use the humiliating loss to Germany to motivate the whole squad.

 

But then again, considering the overall performance of both squads, it is evident that Netherlands has been more impressive.
While it is true that world cup betting odds pick Brazil as the favorite, the quality of plays that Netherlands showed is far more convincing. Indeed, it is the least favorite, with betting odds of 1.90 whilst receiving an Asian handicap of 0-0.5. Nevertheless, this does not erase the fact that the club has met its championship demise in a not humiliating manner as that of Brazil.

 

Image Source: CBC

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