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The Cup Running Over


July 2, 2010 11:50 AM

Instant Quarterfinal Review: Brazil Meltdown Gives Holland A Shock Win

SCORE: Netherlands 2, Brazil 1. A huge upset, as much for the way Brazil self-destructed as anything else.

THE STORY LINE: A very strange game -- and not a particularly well-played one at all, even though it was exciting. Brazil controlled the game completely for better than 50 minutes but was uncharacteristically sloppy and had only one goal to show for it. Then came the own goal. Then came the meltdown. Let's be honest: For their part, the Dutch didn't do all that much.

TURNING POINT: We think it was the easy Brazilian goal -- only ten minutes into the game. Like the Dutch goal in the final of the 1974 Cup, it came so easily that the Brazilians let down their guard and lost intensity. They were in control but only up by a goal. And a mistake let the Dutch back in.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Felipe Melo. An own goal and then a red card for the Brazilian holding midfielder -- a World Cup daily double first. He single-handedly may have won the game for Holland.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: How mediocre both teams looked, really, except for Maarten Steklenberg, the Dutch keeper who was excellent. It would be nice to ascribe the subpar play to tough defense but that wasn't the case. Just sloppy -- though Wesley Sneijder's header was alert.

BIGGEST NO-SHOW: Brazil's back line. Two mistakes at the back -- two goals allowed.

KEY STAT: Brazil's World Cup record before this game when leading at the half: 35-0-2. Not anymore.

WHAT IT MEANS:
Time to rewrite the book on Brazil maybe. Hard to remember when it melted down like this. Out in the quarters for the second Cup in a row.

IF THE GAME WERE A ROLLING STONES SONG IT WOULD BE: Out of Control

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