It was not the performance many expected from Holland after their most recent win against Spain, but in the end they walk away victors. The Australians put up a class showing, never bowing down to the Dutch while giving them a run for their money directly from the opening whistle. It was one of the best games of the World Cup so far, as the two teams traded goals back in forth over the ninety minutes. 

Holland came into this one the heavy favorites after dismantling cup holders Spain 5-1, while Australia needed some type of result to have a chance of advancing to the knockout stages. There were no surprises in either lineups as Cahill featured up top for Australia while Holland had the exact same starting XI as they did against Spain.

Through the opening stages of the game, it was the Australians that were surprisingly but confidently controlling the game. The Dutch looked a bit off the pace in the opening ten minutes giving away possession cheaply more than a couple of times. The “Socceroos” were very composed and organized in the midfield, making it tough for the Dutch to gain any type of stronghold on the game.

Arjen Robben though showed why he is a class above so many players in this tournament as he brought the Dutch into the lead on 20’ minutes. It was a great run that started on the half mark and ended with him slotting it passed the Australian keeper from about 10-yards out.

In an incredible turn of events though, Tim Cahill brought out his inner “Van Persie”, volleying home arguably the best goal of the World Cup thus far to equalize the score twenty seconds after Robben brought the Dutch into the lead. The Australians were showing that they were not going to let the Dutch roll over them, as they continued to hold possession well and pressured the midfield whenever they lost the ball.

Mark Bresciano had a chance to send the country of Australia into utter bliss when the ball was beautifully brought across the middle of the eighteen yard box, only to see him blast it into the stands.

Going into the half, it has to be said that Australia was the better team. They controlled the pace of the game and outside of Robben’s goal, pressured the Dutch in all the right places.

The Dutch began the second half looking much stronger. Wesley Sneijder had the first chance of the half, only to see his shot from about 20-yards out put aside for a corner by the outstretched arm of keeper Maty Ryan.

And then when the Dutch thought they were getting a hold on the game, Australia received a penalty kick on 53’ after Daryl Janmaat’s hand was struck in the penalty box. Captain Mile Jedinak stepped up and put away a perfect penalty to shock not only the Dutch, but the world as well. After 55’, Australia led the heavily favored Dutch 2-1.

It was heartbreak for the Australian’s though as they saw their lead only last for three minutes. Robin Van Persie was put clear through on goal from about 8-yards out, clinically smashing the ball into the roof of the goal to bring the Dutch level.

The story of the “super sub” at this World Cup continued as Memphis Depay gave the Dutch the lead on 67’ when his shot from about 25-yards out should have been saved, but instead ended up in the back of the net. It was more heartbreak for the Australians as they had a pristine chance on the other end just a few moments before.

The game began to look more and more like it was going to end with three points for the Dutch. It took quite some time for the blue shirts of Holland to take control of the game, but when they did, it seemed rather unlikely that the Australians were going to see a result.

At the end of ninety minutes, the Dutch were able to come away with a 3-2 win and three points in the bag. This game will also mark the end of Tim Cahill’s national team career as he received his second yellow and will not be able to participate against Spain. It was a strong and brave showing from the “Socceroos” but the quality of the Dutch team was too much to handle in the end.

The Netherlands will play their final Group B game against Chile on June 23 while the “Socceroos”, after already failing to advance to the knockout stages, will go through the motions against Spain on the same day.