The best match of the World Cup so far as Australia were able for about an hour to outplay the Netherlands until they ran out of gas. Eventually, the Dutch managed to come through with a dramatic 3-2 victory that keeps them on top of Group B and pretty much secures their place in the round of 16 unless something completely unexpected happens as the trio of Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Memphis Depay scored for the Oranje.
Australia pressed all over the pitch for about 60 minutes which made them the better team throughout the match. The Netherlands are built to move to ball in the midfield. They have very few players capable of doing that well, which allowed the Australians to press and create pressure on the three-man defense Van Gaal loves to use. However, one silly mistake by Alex Wilkinson gave the Netherlands a 3 on 1 break that Arjen Robben took all the way, ignoring his teammates to score his third goal of the World Cup.
While Robben was celebrating, Ryan McGowan got things going with a long ball to an uncovered Tim Cahill. Cahill is known for his finishes with his head, but using his left foot resulted in an incredible volley and the best goal of the tournament so far, releasing a cannon of a shot that hit the crossbar and beat Jasper Cillessen to give the Socceroos an equalizer they completely deserved.
For the first 15 minutes of the second half, Australia kept the pressure on the Dutch defense that wouldn’t stop making mistakes. That confusion in the back resulted in a hand ball by Daryl Janmaat. The Captain, Mile Jedinak, scored from the penalty spot to give Australia a stunning lead going into the final 35 minutes of the match, but once again it didn’t take long for the equalzier to come, this time from replacement Memphis Depay who came on for Bruno Martins Indi at half time.
Depay was left unamrked from around 27-30 meters from goal. His shot wasn’t exactly powerful, but it bounced and fooled Maty Ryan, who misjudged the trajectory of the ball and cost his team the win, also meaning that for the second consecutive World Cup, Australia will go home at the end of the group stage.
It wasn’t a good match from the Dutch but their talent was enough to pull them through. Their inability to play in more than one way might hurt them later on but for now they can be happy with possibly securing the top spot in the group (which might eventually land them Brazil), while Robin van Persie with a second booking won’t be able to play against Chile.