Second round of the Group Stage in the World Cup is underway! Another match at Porto Alegra which previously saw France destroying Honduras by 3-0 in a one side contest, but this time the fans wanted more. And that is exactly what they got from the Netherlands-Australia game. The Oranje, who decimated the defending champions- Spain by 5-1 and the Socceroos playing to stay in the World Cup after they lost to Chile by 3-1 in the previous round. This was the first match between the two teams in World Cup Finals and third overall, with Netherlands 2-1 ahead.
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Football pundits predicted an easy win for the Dutch, but they, and the spectators around the world, were in for a stimulating clash. Both the teams came in full energy, football and zest which everybody wanted. Australia, surprising their opponents, started aggressively, attacking Holland’s goal a few times in the first twenty minutes. The Dutch too, were looking excellent, playing a passing game in the midfield and looking for runs to tear through the Australian defence. In the twentieth minute, Robin made an extraordinary run from near the half line and flew past the Aussie defence to score with his venomous left foot. As expected, Netherlands were in the front but, ‘the unexpected’ happened the next minute. Australia equalised with the help of Tim Cahill, scoring with a left-foot volley which the words can’t describe. Both teams were at level and stimulated to inch past their opponents.
It was a tough midfield battle, with both countries playing more belligerently, and it showed when Tim Cahill fouled Bruno Martins and got a yellow card in the process. This clearly means he is going to miss the next match against Spain. Martins though, falling on his head, injured his neck and was carried off in a stretcher, replaced by the 20 year old midfielder- Memphis Depay. Later, van Persie too got himself in trouble and cautioned by the referee, he is going to miss the next match-up too.
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In the following minutes, the Aussies had a kangaroo like jump in their stride and scored as well. The whole of Estádio Beira-Rio, stood up in astonishment! Some in despair, some in joy, but by the end of the incident, the expressions had changed because, it didn’t count! The scorer fouled the defender just before putting the ball into the net. It was a no-go(al). Bresciano was replaced by Bozanic, as the vice-captain was finding it difficult to continue after suffering a cramp in the first half.
What was already a thrilling match turned into an enthralling and enchanting game of football in the second half. It started off with a penalty to the Australians, leaving the Dutch stunned as Mile Jedinak scored by sending their keeper the wrong way. How could this be? It was the 54th minute, but this match had already become a legendary one. Then, van Persie came as a knight in shining armour and saved the day for the Dutch, gave them hope of not just drawing things but also winning the tight contest. 58 minutes on the clock and everything was at level. Scocceroos was making a hell of a racket in Brazil against the finalists of last time.
Australians got a golden opportunity, an opportunity on which they should have leapt at blindly, and that is precisely what the player did, Leckie who tried to chest the ball into the goal, too easy for Cillessen to clear it off the line. Tim Cahill was then substituted for Halloran and Taggarat and Wijnaldum coming in for Oar and de Guzman respectively.
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Both teams with a couple of fresh legs were looking to tip the contest on their side and Netherlands was successful, with the 20-year old substitute Memphis Depay scoring a blinder from 25-yards out, going past Australia but were far away from an assured win as the Australians did not give up. They tried and tried till they succeeded, with the game at 3-2. The game was a captivating one with spectators getting their effort’s worth. Especially the Netherland’s fans who came all the way from Europe to support their National team.
Our only hope now is to see matches like this in the following 3 weeks. A World Cup filled with goals is a World Cup filled with excitement and we wish to see such matches which appease the thirst of football supporters from around the world.
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