BRASILIA, Brazil — Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal is trying to motivate his players for the third-place match against Brazil by giving them the mission of becoming the only Dutch squad to finish a World Cup unbeaten in regular play.

After being eliminated by Argentina on penalties, the Netherlands has the chance of ending the tournament without a loss in seven matches. The Dutch won its first four games, then drew Costa Rica 0-0 in the quarterfinals and Argentina 0-0 in the semifinals.

Van Gaal had been saying the third-place game was pointless and that he would rather not play it, but on Friday he changed the tone a bit, saying that going out without a loss would be a good reason to stay motivated.

“We are realizing that there is something else we need to defend and we have to go for it,” Van Gaal said through a translator. “Never a Dutch team returned home unbeaten, and that has to be the next target.”

It is the second time the Netherlands is playing in the third-place game at a World Cup. It fell to Croatia 2-1 in 1998 after being beaten by Brazil in the semifinals.

“Losing hurts a lot, the pain doesn’t go away so fast, but it’s part of sports,” striker Dirk Kuyt said.

“There’s always the next match. We want to win here and return unbeaten. It will be easier to get on the plane with a good feeling.

It would be wonderful to close this World Cup by winning. We are still not satisfied, but third place gives you a much better feeling than fourth place.”

Best player award list out

RIO DE JANEIRO — Lionel Messi and Neymar are among the 10 players nominated for the award given to the World Cup’s best player.

Seven of the candidates announced by FIFA on Friday play for finalists Argentina and Germany. Messi is nominated along with Argentina teammates Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano. Germany provides four candidates: Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Mueller.

Neymar is the only candidate from Brazil among the players selected by FIFA’s technical study group of coaching analysts.

Arjen Robben of the Netherlands and James Rodriquez of Colombia, the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, complete the list.

The winner is selected by the FIFA technical group and announced after the final.

Both goalkeepers in the final are on a three-man list to be named best of the tournament.

Manuel Neuer of Germany and Sergio Romero of Argentina are joined by Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas.

The candidates for best young player are Memphis Depay of the Netherlands, and France’s Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane.

Police search for Whelan

SAO PAULO — Brazilian police are searching for a World Cup hospitality executive who has been declared a fugitive by officers investigating a ticket-scalping scheme.

Ray Whelan, an executive with the MATCH group, left the Copacabana Palace hotel in Rio de Janeiro through a service entrance about an hour before police arrived to re-arrest him on Thursday.

On Monday, Whelan was detained by police. He was released early the next day.