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Australia V Netherlands
ESTáDIO BEIRA-RIO, PORTO ALEGRE, 19 JUNE 2014
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|8||SHOTS ON GOAL||14|
After taking a 2-1 lead early in the second half, the Socceroos were overrun by the Dutch, losing 2-3.
After an outstanding first 45 minutes, the second half began to decline for Australia when Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill and Tommy Oar were replaced. The Socceroos had their chances, though couldn’t take them.
Overall it was a strong performance; the first half in particular was technically brilliant. The Socceroos certainly gave the Dutch a fright.
For Australia, chances of World Cup glory surely rest on the result of tonight’s match against the Netherlands. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 2:00am AEST.
The Dutch have the upper hand, having beaten world champions Spain rather convincingly, though the Socceroos’ performance against Chile has restored hope for even the most skeptical of Aussie supporters.
If Australia can beat the Netherlands, then get some kind of result against Spain to make it out of the group, then it’s all downhill toward the grand final and victory in 26 days.
And while you may be detecting the slightest of sarcastic tones, the Socceroos’ performance against Chile truly was unexpected. A result against the Dutch, however far-fetched it may seem, is now plausible.
So how can Australia cause the upset of the tournament?
Key to any sort of result will be somehow nullifying Holland’s world class attacking duo. Arjen Robben is possibly the in-form winger of the competition, and showed just how lethal he can be against Spain’s strong defence.
It’s fitting, then, that our best defender will be marking him, but is Jason Davidson up to the task of stopping one of the quickest dribblers in the world for 90 minutes?
Then there’s Robin van Persie. He scored the craziest header out of nothing against Spain, showcasing to the world the type of striker he is – the fall-asleep-for-half-a-second-and-I’ll-punish-you type.
Spain’s defence played a high line against the Dutch and the pace of Robben and van Persie wreaked havoc. The Socceroos’ structure and style needs to be able to quickly adapt to whatever formation the Dutch play.
For instance, if Holland change from their 3-5-2 to a 4-3-3, then a high line in defence is suitable. If Robben and Van Persie play as two strikers, with Sneijder playing as a false No. 9 in the same 3-5-2 against Spain, Australia’s defence will need to drop back deeper to avoid any fast breaks, and allow more room in midfield for a possession-based game.
Rumours continue to circle that Van Gaal is considering a change in formation, but don’t expect too much of a change from the Socceroos’ starting XI. Depending on the progression of the game, Adam Taggart, Ben Halloran or James Troisi may get a run in the second half, but otherwise the same starting XI is expected, with Ryan McGowan coming in for Ivan Franjic.
Mark Bresciano, Mile Jedinak and Jason Davidson are they key players for Australia, and Matthew Spiranovic will also have to step up and play the game of his life if we are to have any chance of an upset.
For the Netherlands, the ‘bruise-brothers’ Nigel de Jong and Jonathan de Guzman will need to overcome Australia’s strong midfield to control the match and dominate the physical battle. They will be key for the Oranje.
Socceroos supporter prediction: Australia 2-1
Realist’s prediction: Netherlands 3-1
Both teams this time. pic.twitter.com/TXgHV1ajVB
— Les Murray (@lesmurraySBS) June 18, 2014