Sensational Socceroos enterain, fall short against Netherlands

2014 World Cup Group B- Match 18
Netherlands 3 Robben 20’, van Persie 58’, Depay 68’
Australia 2 Cahill 21’, Jedinak 54’ (p.k)

Netherlands have come from 2-1 down to defeat Australia 2-1 in Porto Alegre in their second game of the 2014 World Cup. Despite the assertion of former Socceroos boss Pim Verbeek that Australia would get destroyed by an inform Dutch side, the Socceroos fought and arguably could have come away with at least a point from the game.

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Impressive start:
Australia seemed to suffer from a bit of stage fright in the opening clash against Chile, today however was anything but, with the Socceroos in control of the game from the start. Netherlands started off in a very timid fashion, with their 5-3-2 formation working against them giving them very few options playing out from the back. Despite that impressive opening, the Socceroos however fell behind once again after a swift counter attack saw Arjen Robben open the scoring. The goal came from a poor pass from an otherwise impressive Bresciano which left our defence exposed.

Cahill does it again:
Within seconds however, Australia were level and in truth had the goal they deserved, and what a goal it was. Ryan McGowan played a somewhat speculative 40 yard cross from wide on the right, finding Cahill inside the box, and the Australian talisman scored what will go down as one of the goals of the tournament on the volley. The goal was Cahill’s 5th in World Cup play, and his third in his last three World Cup games. He will be desperately missed in the final group game against Spain next week.

Netherlands respond:
The Dutch, and coach Louis van Gaal aren’t considered amongst the best for nothing, and when defender Bruno Martins Indi was forced from the field injured, van Gaal made an astute tactical change bringing on winger Memphis Depay. The change saw Netherlands change from a 5-3-2 formation to a 4-3-3 formation, and saw Australia make a counter move early in the second half with Bozanic coming on for Bresciano to offer more running in midfield.

Second half goals:
Remarkably, Australia took the lead in the game ten minutes into the second half when Jedinak converted a spot kick after Dutch right back Daryl Janmaat was adjudged to have handled in the box. That lead however lasted barely 5 minutes as sharpshooter Robin van Persie lashed a shot past Matt Ryan. It was an unfortunate time to concede, with Jason Davidson playing him onside. Memphis Depay then went on to beat Ryan with a long range goal from 25 yards proving the difference in the contest.

Brisbane factor:
With Ivan Franjic now back in Brisbane, the torch was passed to Matt McKay and the clubs Australian marquee player played 90 minutes at the heart of the midfield. Ex Brisbane winger Tommy Oar started and played about 77 minutes before being replaced. Halloran also came off the bench for another second half cameo.

Group B:
With two losses, Australia’s hopes of progressing now are slim to none, and they’ll be relying on a bounce back from defending champions Spain in the game currently on to keep their tournament alive. A Chile win or a draw eliminates Australia and puts Chile in the box seat to progress, a Spain win makes second spot a 3 way fight on the final matchday in group B.

Screenshot_2014-6-19 4.58.40

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