It’s a shame these teams have to meet in the quarterfinals. This really should be the final, with two of the world’s top teams facing off against each other. The Dutch are unbeaten in 23 matches, and Brazil brings a ten-game undefeated streak to the pitch.
The Netherlands have never won the World, but they are looking to change that. They will face the toughest test possible in Brazil, and they are not making things easier for themselves. Striker Robin van Persie complained about being subbed in the Oranje’s Round-of-16 victory over Slovakia. He said teammate Wesley Sneijder should have been taken out of the game instead.
The Dutch side has also faced criticism from former Netherlands soccer great Johan Cruyff. The current coach of the Catalonian national team said that the side hasn’t shown the style he is used to from Dutch teams. While the Oranje have been successful in the tournament, they haven’t unleashed their feared passing game.
Holland got Arjen Robben back in the Round-of-16 after the star winger missed the group stage due to a hamstring injury. He came back strong and scored the side’s first goal against Slovakia, using his signature move.
He moved to his left along the line at the top of the penalty box. He used his strong left leg to fire a shot against the direction he was moving in and buried the ball in the low right corner of the net. Robben has used this move to score several goals for his club team Bayern Munich, and it seems the move is almost unstoppable.
The Brazilians might be the one team that can keep this Dutch attack in check. The Selecao has seen a vast improvement on their defense in recent years, and can take on any offense in the world. It helps that keeper Julio Cesar, right back Maicon, and center back Lucio all play for Internazionale and are used to playing together.
The Brazilian attack is still one of the most dangerous in the world, and Kaka knows how to pick apart defenses. His passes open up space for deadly strikers Robinho and Luis Fabiano. Kaka has three assists in the tournament.
Robinho has fired ten shots at the opponents’ goal and scored once. Luis Fabiano has the most goals on the Brazilian side. He has scored three times on nine shots. Elano is second in scoring for the Selecao, and his two goals helped the team win Group G.
However, Elano will miss the match against the Oranje due to an ankle injury and he might be out for the rest of the World Cup. He suffered the injury in the side’s 3-1 group-stage-victory against the Ivory Coast, and his recovery is taking longer than expected.
Fellow midfielders Felipe Melo and Julio Baptista are doubtful for Friday’s match, and Ramires will miss the game due to a suspension. This leaves Brazil’s coach Dunga with very few options in the midfield, which could be a problem against the Dutch.
I think Brazil will come through despite the depleted midfield. They are just the more complete side and can dominate any style of play they face. Dunga has done a great ob of turning them into a versatile side that doesn’t have to rely on simply attacking anymore.
They are strong on defense and will keep the Netherlands’ attack in check. If you are with me, and think Brazil can win in regulation, go to 5Dimes or Pinnacle for a -106 line. If you want to play it a little safer, pick Brazil to advance including extra time and penalties at 5Dimes (-235)!