Friday, July 02, 2010

World Cup 2010 Game 57: The Netherlands 2, Brazil 1

I guess that's why they play the game.

Pretty much everything that happened in this game was not supposed to happen. Brazil got the first goal and yet lost the game, only the second time, I think, in this World Cup where the team that has scored first lost. (The other was Nigeria/Greece, a game where the balance was affected by a red card.)

Brazil has won five championships; The Netherlands is the consensus best team to have never won. When Brazil went up the early goal, The Netherlands was supposed to fold, one more time of being good but not good enough.

Not this time. A lucky break with an own goal in the second half (the first ever "own goal" in Brazil's World Cup history), and suddenly it was Brazil losing its composure...looking like a favorite that was feeling the pressure.

This game was absolutely earned. In retrospective, Brazil's final with the United States at last year's Confederation Cup said more about chinks in its armor than the arrival of the United States. One talking point--the field was in poor shape. Did that help The Netherlands? They scored one goal from a long volley and another off a set piece header. Was Brazil's precision passing hurt by the field? (It didn't look that way in the first half where the first goal was scored on a thirty yard diagonal pass up the heart of the defense.)

The Netherlands will likely be a favorite in the semi-finals.

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