The Netherlands team must stay at the World Cup, but coach Louis van Gaal dearly wishes they could just go home.
Next up? The game no one wants to play.
Faced with the prospect of the third-place game against host Brazil on Saturday after a disappointing semifinal loss to Argentina, Van Gaal has criticized the game as being meaningless.
“This match should never be played,” Van Gaal said after his team lost 4-2 in a penalty shootout following a 0-0 deadlock through 120 minutes on Wednesday. “I’ve been saying this for 10 years. But anyway, we will just have to play that match.”
The Dutch somehow have to lift themselves one last time at this World Cup. Tired and disappointed, it won’t be easy.
“They can keep it,” Netherlands forward Arjen Robben replied to a question about how he felt about playing for third place. “Only one prize counts, and that is becoming world champion.”
But while the Netherlands players aren’t interested, Brazil sees the game as an immediate opportunity for redemption after a 7-1 humiliation by Germany in the semifinals on Tuesday.
“Life goes on: We need to look forward to our next goal, and our next goal is to win the match for third place,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. “We have to play it. It has become our main goal.”
Van Gaal said what he dislikes most about the third-place game is that a team faces the possibility of going home with back-to-back losses after the achievement of making the World Cup semifinals.
“So that’s not fair play either,” Van Gaal said. “A tournament where you’ve played so marvelously well, that you go home as a loser just because you could possibly lose the last two matches. So this has got nothing whatsoever to do with sports, not in my view.”
Suarez loses appeal on ban for biting
FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, rejected Chilean star Luis Suarez’s appeal against his lengthy ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini of Italy on the left shoulder in a group-stage game.
The appeals committee rejected the motion by Suarez and the Uruguay soccer federation in its entirety, although Suarez can still appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He was banned for nine competitive international games, four months from all soccer and fined $112,000.
It is the third time Suarez has been banned for biting an opponent.
Brazil vs. Netherlands, 4 p.m.
Germany vs. Argentina 3 p.m.