It is the one game that no team ever wants to take part in, but the encounter at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium took on extra significance after the hosts' dream of lifting the trophy at the Maracana 24 hours later was ended by their record 7-1 loss against the Germans. (Agencies)
Neymar missed that match after fracturing a bone in his back in the quarter-final win against Colombia, but the 22-year-old superstar faced the media on Thursday as he called for Brazil to bow out on a high.
"It was unbelievable, inexplicable. We had the opportunity to write our names into history in a positive manner, and we failed," he said of the Selecao's embarrassing semi-final loss, their heaviest-ever defeat.
"We haven't had a good campaign. We were consistent, which is why we reached the semi-finals, but we didn't play the kind of enchanting football associated with Brazil. Now we need to approach Saturday's game as if it were the final and finish the World Cup smiling, with a victory. It is not going to lessen the pain, but it is important,” said the young Brazilian striker.
The match could prove to be Luiz Felipe Scolari's last in charge, and the coach is likely to make changes to a team whose confidence has been so badly damaged.
Captain Thiago Silva will return after suspension, while his Paris Saint-Germain colleague Maxwell, the only outfield player yet to feature, may play a part.
Despite Neymar's rallying cry, almost all of those involved in Brasilia would rather be elsewhere, with Daniel Alves having made clear his lack of appetite for the bronze-medal clash.
"The important thing is first place. Nothing else matters," said Neymar. "We represent millions of people, so we have to digest this defeat and go out onto the field on Saturday. But, for me, every game is about being first," he added.
Neymar wants Messi to beat Germans in World Cup final
Neymar said that he wants Lionel Messi-led Argentina to win the World Cup final against Germany.
At an emotional press conference, Neymar broke down in tears as he relived the challenge which broke a vertebrae in his back and left him fearing he would be paralyzed.
With Brazil's dream of winning a sixth World Cup decimated by their 7-1 hammering by Germany, Neymar said he wants Barcelona team-mate Messi to claim the trophy on Sunday against the Germans.
"Messi's history in the sport is so important, he has won a lot of trophies and I will be cheering for him," Neymar told a press conference.
"He is a friend, he is my teammate and I wish him luck," he added.
Neymar was ruled out of the World Cup in a rugged challenge by Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga in the quarter-final that left him with a fractured vertebrae.
The footballer wiped away tears as he described his fears immediately after the knee in the back that he would be paralyzed.
"I was blessed in that situation because it wasn't more serious. Two more centimetres up and, well, I could be in a wheelchair. So it is really difficult. It happened at such an important point in my career," he said.
"It was something I cannot accept. That challenge and what happened was unacceptable," he added.
"I would not say there was malice because I can't speak for him, but everyone who understands football knows that challenge was not normal. When someone comes from behind I can't do anything about it. I did not have any control and I ended up being hurt,” said Neymar.
FIFA decided not to take action against Zuniga but Neymar was ruled out of football for several weeks.
Brazil collapsed to defeat against Germany without Neymar and suspended captain Thiago Silva.
It is the one game that no team ever wants to take part in, but the encounter at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium took on extra significance after the hosts' dream of lifting the trophy at the Maracana 24 hours later was ended by their record 7-1 loss against the Germans.