Thursday, June 19, 2014

World Cup 2014 : Netherlands vs Australia 3-2

What a match to witness.... Netherlands & Australia are great rivals in the game of hockey, but today they seemed to establish similar sentiments in football as well.
After their thumping 5-1 victory against defending champions Spain last week, & Australia losing to Chile, it was expected that the Dutch will steamroll without a so turned out that the Dutch team had to literally sweat it out against a resurgent Australia. If yesterday's match between Brazil & Mexico was the best thus far, today's game was a couple of notch higher for sure.

The game started in whirlwind fashion, with both teams going for the kill. In the 20th minute, the mercurial Robben, picked up a loose ball around the center & raced through the Aussie defense & then neatly placed a left footer past the goalkeeper Ryan, 1-0......the stadium erupted with the Orange fans going berserk....but even before the celebration had died down, the Aussies responded & within seconds, veteran player Tim Cahill drilled the ball with a brilliant rising left footer into the Dutch net 1-1. Game on it was....both the team pressed hard as the ball darted from one end to the other. Aussies had a solid game plan & were putting in extra players in any situation to neutralise the marauding Dutch attack.

Both the team continued in the same vein after the lemon break, & the hard working Aussies were rewarded with a spot kick, as the Dutch defender Janmaat hand balled inside the box. Skipper Mile Jedinak coolly converted the penalty, outwitting the goalkeeper & it was 2-1 lead for the Aussies......they were at that stage looking the better team, hustling the much vaunted Dutch attack of Van Persie, Robben & Sneidjer.
Once again, within minutes of a goal scored the opposition found the net & this time around, Van Persie took advantage of a monetary loss of concentration by fullback Jason Davidson & blastd the ball past the Aussie was 2-2. In the 69th minute, it was heart break for the Aussies, as, out of nowhere, Memphis Depay, who came in as a substitute, seconds before the half time in place of the injured Martins, slotted a brilliant rasping 25 yards drive into the net to give Netherlands the decisive lead 3-2.
Ageing Cahill was substituted for fresh legs around the 70th minute, & with that the imaginative Aussie attack gradually faded. Though to their credit, they kept pressing for an equaliser, it was hard to come by.....the Dutch defense though, survived a few close shaves & the game ended with Netherlands victorious 3-2 & becoming the first team to qualify for the knockout stage in this world Cup.
The Aussies have all the reasons to be happy with their performance today, but would feel dejected to have lost this match & having lost the previous one to Chile, the opportunity to keep their hopes alive for the next round.
Netherlands have been hungry & committed to play pressing & pacy football, going for goals at will, & have been rewarded with eight goals in two matches. However, today's match showed that even they could be sure Coach Van Gaal would have plans laid out to cover the gaps. Van Persie, will miss the next match against Chile, as he got his second yellow card, but I guess, the team has enough firepower in Robben & others to meet the expectations.

With 50 goals already scored thus far, this World Cup is really getting better & better..... worth every bit to keep awake & watch.... Wow...