Netherlands had to come from behind as they eventually saw off Australia 3-2 and are now in touching distance of the second round.

  • By Michael Bell
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101depaAustralia said they were going to attack Netherlands from the kick off, and they stuck with their promise as the Dutch were put under tremendous pressure from the start.

After being second best for twenty minutes a tremendous piece of individual skill from Arjen Robben handed Netherlands the lead, with the winger spinning his marker on the halfway line before storming up the field and finishing into the bottom corner.

However the lead only lasted 70 seconds as straight from the kick off a long ball forward was tremendously thumped first time into the top corner by  Tim Cahill to level for the Aussies. The goal immediately brought back memories of Marco van Basten from 1988, it was a stunning strike.

The goal galvanized Australia and they missed a great opportunity to take the lead before half time as Mark Bresciano skied an effort over the bar.

An injury to Bruno Martins Indi, now confirmed as concussion, forced Louis van Gaal to change his tactics and bring on winger Memphis Depay and move to 4-3-3.

The change worked and Netherlands were much better after the break, but they fell behind on 54 minutes after the referee gave a harsh penalty against Daryl Janmaat. The right back’s trailing hand blocked Leckie’s cross, and Mile Jedinak sent Jasper Cillessen the wrong way from the spot.

Netherlands fought back though as Memphis Depay sent Robin van Persie through on goal, and the striker made no mistake with an emphatic finish on 57 minutes.

Then Depay, who was making his debut in the World Cup, sent a 30 yard strike into the bottom corner to put Netherlands 3-2 up 10 minutes later.  A brilliant moment from the PSV winger who was the biggest talent in the Eredivisie last season.

As Australia pushed forward, Netherlands created chances to kill the game off, but the likes of Robben, Van Persie, and Jeremain Lens could not take advantage.

Netherlands held on for the three points which puts them in touching distance of the second round, but the game will have raised questions around the 5-3-2 formation. In the first half the Dutch were overrun by Australia, but improved greatly when switching to 4-3-3, and Van Gaal may have to use this formation going into the next round.

After this game, Netherlands have a new global star in Memphis Depay, and are all but certain to be in the next round, but improvement is need against Chile on Monday.

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