2014 World Cup Preview: Game 2- Australia vs. Netherlands

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After Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Chile in Cuiaba, Australia’s –albeit minimal- hopes of progressing to the last 16 go on the line tomorrow morning in Porto Alegre in their second game against the Netherlands. The Dutch romped home against Spain on the weekend, however it’s unlikely the score will be some one sided this time around. Despite being the massive underdog and suffering injury doubts, Australia do at least have the weight of history on their side as the Dutch haven’t beaten Australia in the past three meetings between the two sides.

Venue: Estadio Beira-Rio (Porte Alegre)
Capacity: 51,300
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Australia:
The Socceroos have got some injury concerns after their opening round loss to Chile, with Ivan Franjic on his way home from Brazil after sustaining a hamstring injury, while Mark Milligan will also miss the clash. Ryan McGowan is the obvious candidate to replace Franjic in the side, while Oliver Bozanic and James Holland are the likely replacements for Milligan, depending on how the Socceroos want to set up. It’s unlikely there will be any further changes, with the majority of the side who grew into the game in Cuiaba likely to get a second chance to impress. The Australian plan will surely be more of the same from the first game -opening 15mins aside- with crosses from Leckie and Oar aimed at Tim Cahill the expected order of the day.

Likely Australian side: Ryan, McGowan, Wilkinson, Spiranovic, Davidson, Holland, Jedinak, Bresciano, Leckie, Oar, Cahill.

Netherlands:
The Dutch produced the shock of the tournament to date with their first up demolition of defending champions Spain, and with that in mind it’s highly unlikely that Luis van Gaal will make any changes to his starting side. If he were to make a change, it may be to swap Swansea’s Jonathan de Guzman –who picked up a caution in the first game- with Feyenoord’s Jordy Clasie. Outside of that the defence which was solid should remain in tact, while the threat upfront will come from Robben and van Persie who both shone in the opener.

Likely Netherlands side: Cillessen, Janmaat, de Vrij, Vlaar, Martins Indi, Blind, de Jong, de Guzman, Sneijder, Robben, van Persie.

Group B:
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In Group B’s other match of the day, Spain and Chile play off with the reigning champions fighting to stay alive in the tournament, and you’d say that a win would almost be essential La Roja after their dismal showing in the first game. Reports suggested that David De Gea was likely to get a start at the Maracana, however with his injury in training it’s expected that Iker Casillas will get a reprieve for now at least. They may also look to make a change in the front third, with Diego Costa ineffective in the opener, while at the back Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique looked to be struggling as a pairing.

I have to say that im more confident in Australia getting a result against the Dutch than I was against the Chileans, however the way they picked apart the best side of the past 5 years was rather disconcerting. Hopefully they have a bad day and left their scoring boots in Salvador Kick-off between Australia and the Netherlands from Porto Alegre is at 2.00am on SBS1 with the pre-game show from 1.30am. Spain and Chile will follow from the Maracana from 5.00am.

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