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Three lessons from Australia 2-3 Netherlands

Three lessons from Australia 2-3 Netherlands

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Tim Cahill scored one of the goals of the World Cup so far as he led the fearless Socceroos, but the Oranje ultimately showed their class. Three takeaways from the enthralling game

By Teng Kiat | Deputy Editor, Goal Singapore

Well, well, well. What did we have in the second game of Matchday 2? Yet ANOTHER absolute thriller between Australia and Netherlands, which gave us five more goals to make that the average from three games in Group B at the time of writing. Pretty insane World Cup we have so far.

Socceroos can hold heads high
Few would have given the Socceroos a chance against the mighty Oranje before the game, save for their most ardent supporters. But boy, did the men from Down Under exceed expectations by a country mile.

Straight from the first whistle, they hassled and harried the Dutch and gave their opponents - who had thrashed world champions Spain 5-1 in their first game - as little time on the ball as possible. In fact, when the opening goal from Netherlands came, it was against the run of play.

What a response the Australians managed though. From the restart, the ball was worked to Ryan McGowan near the half-way line and the defender launched a first-time ball into the area towards Tim Cahill, who probably could have tried to bring it down. But why would you do that when you can blast it on the volley and into the back of the net? Absolute stunner from the Aussie talisman and one will struggle to find a better goal throughout this tournament, even if there are so many more game to come.

The yellow shirts even took a shock lead when captain Mile Jedinak fired home after a contentious penalty was given and while they couldn't hold on, defeat was a harsh result for Australia. They had 10 shots to Netherlands' 14, had half the possession and achieved almost the same passing accuracy - in short, they were far from being outplayed.

Ange Postecoglou and his charges can hold their heads up very proudly and highly, despite it being very likely that they will be on the plane home after their final group game. Well done Australia!

Robben and Van Persie continue to lead the way
Captains are chosen to lead the way and that is exactly what both of Netherlands' appointed ones have done in this World Cup so far.

Louis van Gaal certainly knew what he was doing when he handed the armband to Robin van Persie and made Arjen Robben his deputy, with the duo responding by each netting twice in their first game and then popping up with a goal each against Australia.

It was Robben who led the way first with a blistering run and finish to give them the lead, while Van Persie wasted no time in getting the Oranje back on level terms four minutes after the Socceroos went 2-1 up. That was crucial in restoring the team's belief and morale and ultimately paved the way for victory.

The irresistible duo are the first Dutch players to score in three different World Cup tournaments, with the previous two being 2006 and 2010, and their performances will be key to the Netherlands' hopes of being crowned champions.

Young star Depay to the fore
Amongst all the excitement of the game, it could be easy to overlook the impact one substitute had on the overall scoreline. Not many would have heard of Memphis Depay before this tournament, but the youngster has certainly made an impression now with his Man of the Match display.

Coming on at half-time for the injured Bruno Martins Indi at half-time, it took him only 13 minutes to make his mark. An intelligent reverse ball slipped Van Persie through for the equaliser, before the PSV attacker slammed home a swerving 30-yard drive for the winner 10 minutes later.

The Dutch made the switch from 5-3-2 to 4-3-3 when Depay came on and he went to his usual left winger position to perform to devastating effect. Not bad for someone who was winning only his seventh international cap and is the youngest in the side that travelled to Brazil.

It was also Depay's first goal for the Oranje. Regarded as one of his country's brightest upcoming talents, he will hope to go on and establish himself on the international stage after a breakthrough campaign at club level, where he hit 12 goals and made seven assists in 32 appearances.