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SBI World Cup Man of the Match: Robin van Persie

Van Persie vs Brazil cele


It wasn’t Holland’s elusive first World Cup title, but a third-place finish in the 2014 World Cup will leave the “Flying Dutchman” gleaming with satisfaction.

After being heartbroken in penalties against Argentina in the semifinals, the Netherlands bounced back against Brazil in dominating fashion, routing the host country 3-0 at the beautiful Estádio Nacional de Brasília Mané Garrincha.

The Dutch scored the decisive first goal less than five minutes into the match thanks to a confident Robin van Persie penalty. The 30-year-old forward redeemed himself with the goal and an overall good performance after struggling to return to form following intestinal problems prior to the semifinal round.

Van Persie finished the evening with half of Holland’s shots on goal, while helping boost the productivity of teammates Arjen Robben and Georginio Wijnaldum in the middle of the field. The performance was good enough to earn Van Persie SBI Man of the Match honors.

Robin van Persie beat out teammates Georginio Wijnaldum and Daley Blind for the honors.


What did you make of van Persie’s performance in the third-place match? Will a successful World Cup extend to the forward’s club play?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. WC best XI

    ——–Robben——Van Perse—–
    —-Di Maria—J.Rodriguez—-Muller—

    Second team:
    –Diaz—Hummels–Garay–F. Johnson–

    Messi can play himself on to the first team tomorrow
    Left out Howard, Ochoa, Kompany, DeBryin and Neymar

  2. Brazil got by for decades with superior flair and technical skill, making the ball do the work for them. They really did look like the Harlem Globetrotters abusing the Washington Generals every time they played a Euro team. And they duly won five World Cups…often with guys who did not exactly look athletic.

    The problem Brazil is having, IMHO, is really pretty simple: the rest of the world has had decades of exposure to Brazil’s tricks and flair, and it’s no longer novel…in fact it’s been absorbed by the rest of the world. While the Selecao have gotten bigger and fitter and more athletic themselves…but at the end of the day, the game has seemingly morphed past them, to hard-running two-way players – especially midfielders – who can hit 80%-plus of their passes and play box-to-box. And while they’ve gotten (a little) better in this regard, the willingness of the Brazilians to track back and actually defend still seems night-and-day compared to super-fit teams like Germany and the Netherlands. When the counter strikes, Brazil’s defenders are on their own…or caught up the field, since they’re entirely too willing to go freelancing up the field with zero cover, and if they turn the ball over, they’re completely out of their defensive shape.

    The rest of the world has gotten a lot better, but the national expectations of Brazil are every bit as demanding as they ever were. They don’t just want to win. Their nation demands that they go out and win by 4-5 goals, every game, play with style and verve and flair, and they want to see the Globetrotter Show…and those days are long gone, and will never come back.

    It’s going to be a long hard road back for Brazil, IMHO. They’ll always have talent…but until they adjust to the reality that they’re just one power among what’s grown to probably 10+ true world powers and another ten that can give you a beast of a game on any given day, I don’t see them experiencing anything but a collective sense of national frustration. As England has shown, and Italy is now starting to show, that can be pure poison to a national team.

    Worse, what I was clearly seeing, was that they’re losing their fear factor for the opposition…and they’re losing their own swagger. Part of me wonders if what we just saw was Brazil losing their spot among the elite.

    • I don’t think the world catching up to their “tricks and flair” have much to do with terrible defending.

    • You should listen to the BBC 5 live World football Phone in.

      Someone on that show, Tim Vickery likes to put it this way and I kinda agree with both you and him.

      “Brazil doesn’t beat you on flow. They beat you on Moments.” What they have now is less players that can have those moments of brilliance as individuals. They have Neymar, Oscar and… in his own mind Luiz.

    • +1. They really need to have some serious reassment of the ridiculous lack of coaching stability in their domestic soccer culture. Six weeks is a lifetime for a professional coach in Brazil, and the follow-on effect is that individual players have no incentive to learn how to function within a system or function consistently in a specific tactical role when called upon, contributing in part to the effects you have described.

      Furthermore, the coaching pipeline stagnates. There are South American coaches making big names for themselves all over Europe. Pellegrini and Simeone both had big years, and they have compatriots emerging in multiple countries as well as domestically. Argentina, Chile, Colombia, etc. will have a large pool of proven managers guiding their players and leading the nat’l team for the forseeable future.

      Brazil has almost nobody. Turning back to Big Phil said it all. Coaching carousel was humorous when they were winning, but it’s an awfully hard problem to reverse, and the consequences are becoming easy to spot.


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