NETHERLANDS survived a scare to claim a second Group B win against Australia in Porto Alegre, sealing their progress as the
Socceroos were eliminated.
Scorers: Australia - Cahill (21), Jedinak (54pen); Netherlands - Robben (20),v Persie (58), Depay (68)
The Oranje beat defending world champions Spain 5-1 in their opening match, but Louis van Gaal’s men had to come from 2-1 down to win 3-2 in their second.
Arjen Robben put Holland ahead but, within 60 seconds, a sensational strike from Tim Cahill brought Australia level.
Cahill then showed his bad side with a late challenge on Bruno Martins Indi, who was taken off on a stretcher, to earn a booking which sees the Australia talisman suspended for the final group game with Spain.
Robin van Persie – also booked to earn a suspension which rules him out of the contest with Chile – swiftly cancelled out Mile Jedinak’s penalty before substitute Memphis Depay put Holland ahead 20 minutes from the end with the strike which proved decisive.
Chile’s victory over Spain in the later game confirmed the exits of both Australia and the Spanish and Holland v Chile on Monday will decide who tops the group. Van Persie said: “The World Cup is the greatest tournament in the world, with all the best players and it’s tough. Tough against Australia and again next week and the week after. It’s the World Cup. I’m pleased with the result, especially as I can’t play the last game.”
A slow start to the game was ignited by Robben, who received the ball just inside his own half, swerved past Alex Wilkinson at the halfway line and burst into the box.
The Bayern Munich forward then despatched a clinical finish across goal for his third of the tournament.
The Australians responded almost immediately with a goal reminiscent of memorable strikes from Dutchmen Marco van Basten and Van Persie.
Former Hearts defender Ryan McGowan drilled a cross-field pass over the Dutch defence and Cahill’s exquisite left-footed volley went in off the bar in what is sure to be one of the goals of the tournament.
“It just felt so right to hit it and I hit it sweetly,” Cahill said afterwards.
“This is what it’s all about because everyone dreams of playing on this stage and I want to leave a mark for all the kids back in Australia and around the world to be inspired by this today.”
Soon after, Mark Bresciano had the chance to convert a ball pulled back from the right but could not keep his shot down.
Cahill then blotted his record by bundling over Martins Indi to receive his yellow card.
The defender was substituted with an ankle injury, with Depay replacing him and Holland switching to a 4-3-3 formation.
Van Persie will miss Holland’s contest with Chile after being booked within two minutes of the resumption for catching Matthew Spiranovic with a flailing arm.
Eight minutes into the second half, Oliver Bozanic, on moments earlier for Bresciano, had a cross blocked by the arm of Daryl Janmaat and Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi awarded a penalty. Jedinak sent Jasper Cillessen the wrong way.
There was another quick response as Van Persie was played onside in receiving Depay’s pass, turned and found the roof of
Tempers frayed following a challenge from the already-booked Van Persie on Jedinak before Mathew Leckie was unable to convert the chance for the Australians.
Seconds later, Australia were behind as Depay’s 30-yard strike swerved away from Australia goalkeeper Maty Ryan.
Nigel De Jong then had a shot blocked as Holland tried to find a fourth in an end-to-end contest.
Australia had opportunities, too, but could not find a leveller as their hopes of reaching the knockout stages faded.
“Heartbreaker, mate, I just wanted the players to get a reward,” said Australia coach Ange Postecoglou after the match.
“We went out there and we said we’d have a go and we’ll do that in the last game.”
Australia: Ryan, McGowan, Wilkinson, Spiranovic, Davidson, Leckie, Jedinak, McKay, Oar (Taggart 77), Bresciano (Bozanic 51), Cahill (Halloran 70). Subs not used: Langerak, Wright, Troisi, Holland, Vidosic, Luongo, Galekovic.
Netherlands: Cillessen, Martins Indi (Depay 45), Vlaar, De Vrij, Janmaat, De Jong, Blind, de Guzman (Wijnaldum 78), Sneijder,van Persie (Lens 87), Robben. Subs not used: Vorm, Verhaegh, Veltman, Kongolo, Kuyt, Clasie, Fer, Huntelaar, Krul.