Dutch comeback puts paid to Aussie hopes
THE Netherlands secured their place in the last 16 of the World Cup as they came from behind to beat Australia 3-2.
Arjen Robben fired the Dutch into an early lead, but a stunning volleyed equaliser from Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak's penalty early in the second-half had put Australia on course for their most famous victory.
Their joy was short-lived, though, as Robin van Persie levelled before Maty Ryan let Memphis Depay's long-range effort creep into the bottom corner to make it two wins from two games for the Dutch in Group B.
"I just wanted the players to get the reward for the way they went about things today," said Australian coach Ange Postecoglou.
"I have put a lot of pressure on the players and the staff that we are going to be a certain type of team and take it to world-class opposition, but it is one thing saying it and another thing doing it.
"They did that today but didn't get their reward. It's heartbreaking and massively disappointing."
A change of formation at half-time helped turn the tide in the Netherlands' favour after the break, but boss Louis van Gaal admitted his side had been fortunate to escape unscathed after a lacklustre first 45 minutes.
"If in the first-half you lose the ball so simply or so often, then the formation doesn't matter. I needed to change something at half-time to boost their confidence and change their mindset," said the newly appointed Manchester United manager.
"Fortunately it turned out OK, but it could have turned out differently. In the second-half, we had more chances and the way the players came from behind was incredible. To recover and correct that situation showed a lot of mental strength."
Australia will face champions Spain in their last match but will have to do without Cahill as he saw his second yellow card of the tournament, while Van Persie will miss his side's clash with Chile after also being booked.
He saw his second yellow card of the tournament when he clashed with Matthew Spiranovic.
But he ended the match with a smile after springing the offside trap and thundering his third goal of the tournament high into the net.