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World Cup Usa '94 / Quarterfinals

July 09, 1994|ELLIOTT ALMOND

at the Cotton Bowl


Brazil vs. Netherlands

* TIME: 12:35 p.m. PDT

* TV: ABC, Univision

* KEY MATCHUPS: This is a game worthy of the semifinals because many believe undefeated Brazil (3-0-1) and the Netherlands (3-1-0) are among the four best teams in the World Cup. Romario and Bebeto will take their explosive attack to the Dutch. If they can break loose often enough, Brazil will be in great position. But Brazil cannot overlook the aggressive Dutch style. Led by Dennis Bergkamp, Holland can be as explosive as Brazil. While much has been said about Brazil's offense, it has almost gone unnoticed that the team has allowed only one goal in four games, that in a 1-1 draw with Sweden. Brazil's best defense is controlling the ball with its remarkable finesse.

* OUTLOOK: When teams at this level meet there are few surprises. The players know each other from club play and know what to expect. Brazil has replaced Leonardo, suspended for four games for elbowing Tab Ramos, with Branco. Neither team will change tactics today. "We can't change our system," Brazilian midfielder Mazinho said. "We have to keep playing the way we do." Said Dick Advocaat, Holland's coach, "We will try to play our game and we will try not to allow Brazil to play their game. That is all we can do."

* OUTCOME: Everyone will be watching the famous strikers, but the match will turn on defense. No doubt each side will get its chances, but the team that advances will be the one that plays error free. One defensive mistake is all it will take to lose. The midfield will carry the burden of trying to befuddle the other team's attack, stopping a threat before it becomes serious. The Netherlands needs another performance like its stirring 2-0 victory over Ireland in the second round. If it plays as erratically as it did in Group F, it could be in serious trouble. The Brazilians have something intangible that gives them the edge. Although this is not one of the great Brazilian teams, it has enough talent to continue on its quest for a fourth world championship. But not by much. This could be decided by penalty kicks. Brazil, 2-1.

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