Brazil v Netherlands – Saturday 4 June – (21:10) Goiania, Brazil
Brazil will host World Cup finalists Netherlands in what is expected to be a competitive International Friendly match. These teams are the 3rd and 2nd best teams in the world respectively according to the FIFA rankings and both will want a win in this high profile clash.
Brazil’s future looks bright after the sacking of previous Coach Dunga, who was hated by most of the countries supporters. Even before the World Cup exit he was disliked for the perceived negativity in his side’s football, and for constantly selecting his ‘favourites’ ahead of established stars like Ronaldinho, and younger, emerging talents such as Neymar and Ganso. Things are looking positive under new Coach Mano Menezes. Menezes, who recently coached Corinthians for 3 seasons, started his first match well by recording a 2-0 win over USA. Since then results haven’t been the greatest but they did redeem themselves after losing 1-0 to France by recording an emphatic 2-0 win over Scotland where Santos youngster Neymar stole the show scoring 2 goals. The Brazil public are all behind Menezes as he has brought back Brazil’s traditional attacking style of play. AC Milan forward Robinho has been recalled to the squad after fine form in getting AC Milan the Serie A title.
Netherlands have continued their great World Cup form that took them all the way to the final. They have played 9 games since the World Cup, with their first one against Ukraine where they drew 1-1. Thereafter the Netherlands have managed 8 straight wins. They face a tough task to keep their 9 game unbeaten run against Brazil here. Netherlands have played 3 games so far in 2011 and haven’t had trouble getting goals as they put 3 through Austria in February and 9 goals through Hungary in 2 matches in March. They will be without key midfielder Wesley Sneijder, Mark van Bommel and Rafael van der Vaart due to injury. However the match against Brazil could be Arjen Robben’s first appearance for Netherlands since the World Cup final loss to Spain. The Bayern Munich attacker missed Oranje’s previous games due to injury. He is probably their most dangerous player and will be a key player if Netherlands are to get a win in this match. Barcelona’s Ibrahim Afellay, who will travel despite stating his desire to remain at home and rest after a long season, has been one of their stand out performers of late and his talent on the wing could give Brazil some problems.
These teams are very equally matched. It will be tough playing Brazil in Brazil. However Netherlands are a disciplined side and the draw looks the likeliest result.