Australia 2-3 The Netherlands
Robben (20′) Cahill (21′) Jedinak (51′) Van Persie (58′) Memphis (68′)
If you told me yesterday that the Netherlands will edge past Australia 2-3 I would have said you’re mad. After the Dutch mauled World Champions Spain. I’d expected an utter demolition of the Socceroos. But the men from down under held their own, put on a fantastic spectacle and to be honest, played 10 times better than Spain did against the Dutch. And what a thrilling game this was.
The Socceroos got off to a positive start, keeping their defense tight. Their efforts were rewarded when their first corner came, but it ended up being fruitless. In the 20th minute Arjen Robben made off with an excellent run, Aussie defender Wilkinson could not contain him, his shot found the back of the net. In the very next minute, Tim Cahill equalized with a beautiful volley that hit the underside of the cross bar. What a beauty! Game on. The Australians almost made it 2-1 with a Bresciano opportunity, but there was a little too much on the ball and it went flying just high.
The second half got off to just as an exciting start as the first. Within the first few moments Lecki’s goal was disallowed for a foul on Blind. A short while later Janmaat’s handball gave the Socceroos a penalty, which captain Jedinak converted. And literally moments later Robin van Persie took advantage of a defensive lapse and equalized. It was becoming a case of “whatever you can do, I can do better.” However the Australians courageous efforts were undone when Memphis Depay scored the winner.
Both Tim Cahill and Robin van Persie will miss their next fixtures, they both were carded their second yellows of this tournament. Van Persie for a hand to Spiranovic’s face; and Cahill’s was for a challenge on Martins Indi, which saw the Dutchman subbed for Memphis. Cahill is now 34, and unless the Socceroos somehow make it through to the round of 16, this was probably his last World Cup game.
What I enjoyed most about this game was the positive football being played. The Australians went in with the right attitude and I think had they taken advantage of all their chances that they were given, we would have had a serious upset. They are the first team to exit the World Cup, but they went down fighting.