On paper, this game shouldn’t have been close.
The Netherlands, coming off a stunning 5-1 win over defending champion Spain, was the clear favorite against lowly Australia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, in Wednesday’s 2014 FIFA World Cup matchup.
The Socceroos gave the Dutch all they could handle, though, fighting valiantly before finally falling 3-2 after two second-half goals from The Netherlands.
The start of the game produced few surprises, as Dutch striker Arjen Robben scored his third goal of the tournament in the 20th minute to give his team an early 1-0 lead.
Just seconds later, however, Australian forward Tim Cahill tied the score at 1-1 with a miraculous one-time goal that might be the best score of the tournament so far.
In the 51st minute, the Aussies kept their momentum going when Mile Jedinak earned a penalty kick on a Dutch hand ball in the box and cashed in to put his team up 2-1.
The Netherlands wouldn’t trail for long, however, as its offense finally came to life when Robin van Persie blasted a goal from short range in the 58th minute to tie the score at 2-2. 10 minutes later, Memphis Depay gave the Dutch the lead for good on a long strike that deflected off the gloves of Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.
The result officially ends Australia’s slim hopes of advancing and secures a spot in the round of 16 for the Dutch, who sit atop Group B with 6 points.
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