PORTO ALEGRE – Gp B: Australia 2, Holland 3
—- Holland lived dangerously, falling behind in the middle of the match, to outscore the Socceroos and edge within sight of a place in the second round of the World Cup.
Arjen Robben angled in a shot to put the Dutch ahead, but Tim Cahill soon equalised with a volley which was the finest goal of the finals so far. Mile Jedinak converted a penalty for Australia before Robin van Persie levelled it at 2-2 and substitute Memphis Delay hit a long-range winner.
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said before the game his side intended to attack – and they were true to his words in the opening exchanges.
But a flash of quality from Robben saw Holland take the lead against the run of play. The Bayern Munich forward feinted his way past Alex Wilkinson on the halfway line, raced towards the Australia goal and drove in an angled shot for his third goal of the World Cup.
The Socceroos responded immediately with one of the goals of the tournament so far, Cahill meeting an angled ball from the right with a powerful left-foot volley which crashed in off the underside of the bar.
The goal reminiscent of Marco Van Basten’s historic goal against the Soviet Union in the final of Euro 1988.
Had midfielder Mark Bresciano and defender Matthew Spiranovic shown the same poise, Australia could have taken the lead earlier than they did.
Bresciano ran onto a low Leckie cross only to shoot over from just inside the area, while Spiranovic got away from his marker at a free-kick but side-footed an eight-yard shot straight at keeper Jasper Cillessen.
Cahill and Van Persie were both ruled out of their teams’ final group games after being shown their second yellow cards of the tournament, either side of Leckie having a goal disallowed after he was adjudged to have fouled Daley Blind.
But Australia continued to press, and went in front when an Oliver Bozanic cross struck the hand of Daryl Janmaat and Jedinak slotted home from the spot.
The lead did not last long, though, as Van Persie netted his 11th goal in 10 internationals, controlling the ball before turning and firing into the roof of the net.
Australia again opened up the Dutch and Tommy Oar crossed for Leckie, who chested rather than headed the ball straight at Cillessen.
But it was Depay who decided the outcome of the game, the 20-year-old PSV Eindhoven winger curling a shot beyond the reach of Mat Ryan to give Holland their first victory in four games against Australia.
Depay also thus became the youngest goalscorer in Dutch international history.