BRASILIA: Brazil was poised to bid farewell to the World Cup on Saturday as excitement mounted in Rio de Janeiro on the eve of the final between Argentina and Germany.
The hosts take on the Netherlands for third place in Brasilia in what will be an uncomfortable warm-up act for Sunday’s grand finale at the Maracana Stadium.
Saturday’s match will be the end of a campaign that turned to disaster for the World Cup hosts.
Brazil striker Neymar suffered a fractured vertebra in the quarter-final against Colombia and will spend several more weeks on the sidelines.
Brazil, without Neymar and their suspended captain Thiago Silva, went on to collapse to a historic 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-final.
“We will have difficult days for the rest of our lives” because of the result, said Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
He said Brazil’s backroom team have since concentrated on a “psychological recuperation” of the players to get them ready to face the Dutch at the Garincha National Stadium in Brasilia at 2000 GMT.
Silva is expected to return to play, while Neymar will be in the stadium for the first time since getting a knee in the back that he at first feared would leave him “in a wheelchair” for life.
The Netherlands, meanwhile, are still drained by their penalty shoot-out defeat to Argentina and Dutch tactician Louis van Gaal will have his mind on moving to Manchester United for the new season.
Van Gaal at first said the third-place match should “never be played”, but he changed his version on Friday to say: “We are going to do everything to finish third.