The quarter final defeat of Brazil to Netherlands came as a big shock to many football fans. The five-time world champions were one of the hot favorites to win the World Cup title this year. It seems there are at least two reasons behind their defeat.
First of all, Brazil failed to capitalize on their dominating performance in the first half when they were playing perhaps their best football in the tournament. Following Robinho’s 10th minute goal, Brazil created at least two clear scoring opportunities in the first half, but failed to double the lead. Here, the Dutch goalkeeper Stekelenburg should be given the due credit, especially for his tremendous save in the 31st minute when he stopped Kaka’s goal-bound curling shot for corner.
Secondly, Brazil failed to hold their nerve in the second half. After conceding the first goal through Felipe Melo’s own goal in the 53rd minute, Brazil suddenly looked unsettled and Netherlands became more confident. That is perhaps the reason Brazil conceded the second goal 15 minutes later.
Following the second goal, Brazil completely lost their nerve and Melo’s sending off just 3 minutes later was the reflection of it. There was actually no need of Melo stamping on Robben, revealing his non-Brazilian characteristic. In the end, his marching order did not help Brazil either.
The important thing is that Brazil conceded the second goal in the 68th minute and there were 22 minutes remaining in the match. So, there was every possibility of Brazil finding an equalizer, but it did not happen because the Samba Kings had already lost their nerve.