The hosts continue their dream of winning the FIFA World Cup for a record sixth time, with victory over perennial bridesmaids The Netherlands today in Belo Horizonte.
Vágner Love extended his scoring record to a stunning six consecutive matches in the tournament, level with Fontaine (1958) and Jairzinho (1970), and putting him four goals clear at the top of Golden Boot chart on eight goals.
A goal in Sunday’s final would create history as the only player to score in all seven of his nation’s matches at the tournament (there was no Round of 16 in 1958), and see him finish with the highest goals tally since Gerd Müller in 1970 (10).
Brazil utterly dominated throughout, with Netherlands only mustering three shots in ninety minutes, compared to the hosts’ twenty-one. The Netherlands lost their discipline as the match went on, with four players cautioned, and Kevin Strootman picking up two yellow cards within three minutes of each other midway through the second-half.
The only goal of the game came after 34 minutes when Hulk had a shot blocked on the edge of the area, with Vágner Love drilling the loose ball low past Stekelenberg. Brazil later had great opportunities for Hulk and Neymar but couldn’t extend the lead.
Progression to the Final was almost assured for Brazil when midfielder Strootman was dismissed after he clattered into Neymar having been booked for a similar challenge less than three minutes earlier.
Brazil will play Italy in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, with no new suspension or injury concerns. The Netherlands will play Croatia on Saturday for third-place, without the suspended Strootman, nor Arjen Robben who limped-off late on with a thigh injury.
FIFA WORLD CUP BRAZIL 2014 MATCH 62: SEMI-FINAL BRAZIL 1-0 NETHERLANDS Love 34 Belo Horizonte