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Brazil aims to rescue pride

Sunday, July 13, 2014

BRASLIA - Neymar has urged his Brazil team-mates to rescue some of their battered pride after their humiliating World Cup semi-final defeat to Germany by beating the Netherlands in today's.

It is the one game that no team ever wants to take part in, but the encounter at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium took on extra significance after the hosts' dream of lifting the trophy at the Maracana was ended by their record 7-1 semi-final loss against the Germans.

Neymar missed that match after fracturing a bone in his back in the quarter-final win against Colombia, but the 22-year-old superstar faced the media as he called for Brazil to bow out on a high.

"It was unbelievable, inexplicable. We had the opportunity to write our names into history in a positive manner, and we failed," he said of the Selecao's embarrassing loss, their heaviest World Cup defeat.

"Now we need to approach today's game as if it were the final and finish the World Cup smiling, with a victory. It is not going to lessen the pain, but it is important."

The match could prove to be Luiz Felipe Scolari's last in charge, and the coach is expected to make changes to a team whose confidence has been so badly damaged.

Captain Thiago Silva will return after suspension, while his Paris Saint-Germain colleague Maxwell, the only outfield player yet to feature, may play a part.

The mood in the Dutch camp is the same. The Oranje have a day less to prepare for the match after their agonising defeat on penalties to Argentina in the second semi-final in Sao Paulo.

However, in contrast to Brazil, Holland will be able to look back on a campaign which started with a 5-1 thumping of Spain as a success.

"We have had a fantastic tournament. Nobody expected us to get beyond the group stage," said coach Louis van Gaal, who must motivate himself for his final match at the helm before he takes over at Manchester United.

"We have a day's less rest, which is not very fair. "

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