Close call for Netherlands against brave Australia

Friday, 20 June 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

REUTERS: A long-range strike by substitute Memphis Depay gave the Netherlands a 3-2 win over Australia in a thrilling World Cup Group B game in Porto Alegre on Wednesday after a brave, hard-charging Socceroos side had threatened to earn a famous victory. The game was marked by end-to-end action and spectacular goals - notably a stunning volley by Australia’s Tim Cahill which cancelled out a goal by the Netherlands’ Arjen Robben only a minute earlier. The match belied Australia’s status as underdogs and proved Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal’s warning that they would come out attacking to be correct. But in the end, the mighty Dutch, conquerors of holders Spain in their opening game, prevailed. With the orange-clad Dutch fans and the Australians in yellow, Porto Alegre’s Beira Rio stadium looked like a giant fruit bowl in the early afternoon sun. Van Gaal named the same side that hammered Spain 5-1, a result which elevated the Oranje from unfancied status to ones-to-watch. He also stuck with a 5-3-2 formation to guard against an Australian offensive but switched to the 4-3-3 so beloved by the Dutch after half time. “I felt that Australia in the first half was the most dominating team and I wanted to change that,” he said. “I felt that in the second half that this worked out much better and there was more pressure on the ball and that we created many more opportunities so that was the solution against Australia. Both sides struggled to establish domination in the early stages but Australia had the best of it, attacking down both flanks.