I know I predicted it yesterday, but even I was still a little surprised to see Brazil go down. I knew it was possible, but didn't really think it would happen. In order for it to happen the Netherlands needed somewhat of a perfect game; which involved disrupting the beautiful game.
Brazil came out strong. They looked really good. They are so fun to watch sometimes. They really do play beautiful music together. It's like you are watching a samba or some sort of performance. They are so fluid and the ball moves effortlessly throughout the team and across the field. When they are all in tune they are scary good and so fun to watch. They started out in perfect pitch and just dominated the game. Everything quickly came together in the 10th minute when a perfect pass was made to Robinho who touched it into the goal on his first touch (video below). A beautiful finish to a beautiful start.
Unlike an Italy or even Spain though, Brazil isn't content with just one goal. The music continues and they continued to pound the Netherlands for the rest of the half. I thought the Dutch were somewhat lucky to get out of the half only down 1-0. It's not that Brazil had many great opportunities, but the Netherlands didn't really have any chances and Brazil was playing their style and had complete control of the game. That is until the Dutch disrupted the beautiful game.
I don't know if disrupting Brazil was Netherlands' game plan exactly, but its what they did and it worked perfectly. The game became choppy. Lots of fouls. Lots of flopping and falling by Robben and doing all sorts of things to get under Brazil's skin. They made it difficult for Brazil to keep their rhythm and keep playing their music.
By the way, the play of the game easily was the awesome corner kick "fake" the Dutch tried to pull. One player goes over to take the corner and puts the ball in the little semi-circle by the corner. Then, he motions to another player to come and take the kick. But before leaving the corner, he taps the ball out of the semi-circle so that the ball is now in play. Ideally the other team doesn't notice what the first player did and when the other player gets to the ball, he just starts dribbling towards the goal. It's straight out of a AYSO handbook. It's like in Little League baseball when the players have a meeting at the mound and they give the ball to the first baseman and he tries to hide it and go back to his base and hope that the guy on first will lead off so he can tag him out. Only imagine the Yankees trying that move in the World Series. Brazil of course noticed Netherlands' poor attempt at trickery and foiled the plan. You can see it in the video below. Just awesome.
Anyways, despite the failed tricks, the Dutch were actually doing a good job at disrupting the flow of the game. But they needed a gift. And they got it from an own goal from Brazil. A complete fluke and unfortunate goal, but a gift nonetheless. At that point, the Dutch were in Brazil's heads and Brazil couldn't keep their cool. Bad passes, not much chemistry and lack of music together. Before you knew it, Brazil was flopping and whining at the ref for calls just like the Dutch. Brazil isn't traditionally a team to do that, well apart from Robinho. But all of the players were aggravated. The Dutch had completely frustrated them. Suddenly, amidst all the frustration, the Dutch scored another goal. Practically the knock out blow. Instead of getting up though, Brazil lost their cool even more and lost a man to a red card for a cheap foul that was clearly the result of frustration. And that was it, Brazil was done. The coolest and smoothest team in the Cup had completely lost their cool.
I said yesterday that if these teams played 10 times I would pick Brazil to win 7 of them. I still stick by that. Brazil is the better team and if they don't give the Netherlands the free goal and if they keep their cool, they win most every time. But that's the beauty of the World Cup. It's the biggest stage and anything can happen. The pressure is greater, the stakes are higher, it's a completely different game. The Dutch disrupted the beautiful game and as a result move on. I'd feel bad for Brazil except that we all know they will win it in four years when they host the tournament. There is no way I will pick against them in 2014.
The awesome failed corner kick trick:
Holland second goal: