If the World Cup final is the game no one wants to lose, the third-place play-off is normally the game no one wants to play.
On this occasion, though, one of the coaches might just have been glad of the opportunity. Having seen his Brazil side eviscerated by Germany earlier in the week, Luiz Felipe Scolari was likely eyeing a consolatory victory over the Netherlands on Saturday night.
Like being handed a Twix after a tornado, it would not have provided too much comfort to most. Brazil fans were left stunned by the Mineiraço, the days since blurring together in a state of disbelief. But for Scolari, the old war horse, it was a chance to shift the landscape, even if just a touch.
He had spent the days since the Germany game speaking of a mental “blackout” on the pitch – a six-minute spell during which he “could have done nothing” to prevent the Seleção conceding four times. While he explicitly assumed responsibility for the loss, there was a hint of buck-passing here: if not onto the players then at least onto some higher power who had seen fit to curse his side in this manner. Such ideas hold some sway in superstitious, God-fearing Brazil.
Read the rest of my final Yahoo! Eurosport blog from Rio de Janeiro here.