Two things we learned, at least, from the Holland vs. Brazil match today, is that Jesus hates Brazil, and it’s always important to stay Melo. Brazil’s Kaka is the world’s most expensive striker and was expected to be one of the stars of this World Cup. Known for praying on the pitch after the 2002 World Cup win, and for revealing messages like “I belong to Jesus” on his t-shirts beneath his team jersey after scoring, apparently Jesus’ infatuation with Brazilian soccer is at an end.
The first half saw a rampant Brazilian side slicing through the bewildered Dutch defense with almost comical ease. Robinho’s goal in the 10th minute came from a clever ball played between the center backs, right up the middle down Route One, with Robinho ghosting past whoever was marking him (it still remains unclear) and delicately stroking the ball past the hesitant Steleneburg. We saw both sides of the Robinho coin in this match, with his lightning-fast runs and silky touches on the ball, and also with his whingeing and moaning at the referee, asking for yellow cards to be issues, and screaming obscenities in the faces of his Dutch opponents.
Robinho was not the only Samba Boy having a bit of fun with the idea of sportsmanship. Defender Juan could have gifted Holland a penalty in the first minute when he thumped an elbow into Robin Van Persie’s back to shove him off the end of a Dirk Kuty cross. Michel Bastos evidently thought the game was to see how many times you could kick Arjen Robben in the heels. The answer was about 8, before Bastos had his name taken by the referee. Robben took over the theatrics at this point, and turned in a dazzling display of flopping to the grass under the slightest of touches, some of those touches being so slight as to not have happened at all.
While the acting Oscars are still undecided, Holland emerged a 2-1 winner, after going in at the break 1-nil down. Wesley Sneijder swung in a free kick from the right flank and Melo rose just enough to block his keeper from punching clear, the ball taking a deflection off his shoulder and into the net for Holland’s equaliser. Robben was the creator of the 2nd goal, with a dangerously curved ball to the near post, which was flicked on by Kuyt, and then headed in by the impressive Sneijder. Melo, still stinging from the own-goal, was not ready to give up being the pantomime villain. Around the 72nd minute, Melo decided he’d had enough of Robben taking naps on the grass, and gave him a wake-up stamp on the thigh. The referee took a dim view and gave Melo his marching orders. The Brazilians capitulated at this point, and never looked like getting back into the game. The Dutch passed their way out of the closing minutes of the game and emerged the winners.
Holland will face the winners of the Uruguay vs. Ghana match on July 6.