by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 18th 2014)
Louis van Gaalʼs Netherlands team beat a spirited Australian challenge for the first time. The Socceroos lost 3-2 with Tim Cahill scoring a stunning volley in what will almost certainly be the Australian captainʼs last ever World Cup match. He picked up a 43rd minute yellow card for a late tackle on Feyenoordʼs Bruno Martins-Indi. Dutch captain scored their second to equalise Mile Jedinakʼs 54th minute penalty.
Sadly for Australian keeper Matthew Ryan, his crass error from substitute Memphis Depayʼs shot gifted the Dutch the winner and Jonathan de Guzmán a cheap assist. Earlier Arjen Robben set the game alight with a fine individual goal.
After 20 minutes Robben shimmy left Alex Wilkinson flummoxed on the half way line. Robben raced towards the penalty area and shot across Ryan to open the scoring. Cahillʼs equaliser was an early contender for goal of the tournament. He watched Ryan McGowanʼs 40-yard cross field pass from the right wing onto his left boot to volley past Jasper Cillessen onto the cross-bar and in.
It had shades of Dutch maestro Marco van Bastenʼs sumptuous volley past Rinat Dasaev in the final of Euro1988. It was that good a strike, although van Bastenʼs remains the better goal as it came from a tighter angle.
Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi should have sent at least two Dutch players off, gave a harsh penalty and harshly disallowed an Australian goal. AC Milanʼs Nigel de Jong benefited from undue leniency yet again as a stamp on Tommy Oar in the second minute went totally unpunished – another case for replays.
But Matthew Leckie who set up first half chances for Mark Bresciano that werenʼt taken will wonder why Haimoudi disallowed his goal seconds into the second half. There was contact with Daley Blind, but Haimoudiʼs assistant thought it fair. Leckie Poked it past Cillessen, but Haimoudi disallowed it. Shortly afterwards van Periseʼs elbow caught Matthew Špiranavić. The central defender went down and Haimoudi brandished a yellow card. It could and perhaps should have been red. Van Persie will miss the next match, but given the result would probably have been rested anyway.
The penalty was a bit harsh as the ball hit Daryl Janmaatʼs hand when it was behind his back – hard to say he intended that, but the penalty was given and Jedinak sent Cillessen the wrong way. Meanwhile, van Persie got the equaliser. Van Persieʼs scissors tackle on Ryan McGowan deserved a card, which would have meant van Persie was sent off before the Dutch winner.
Australia deserved something from this match and their manager Ange Postecoglou has cause for complaint, but knows his team is going home despite a valiant effort and that naïve defensive errors contributed to the early flight home. The defensive line on van Persieʼs goal, created by a Wesley Sneijder pass should not have happened.
The right-back and centre-backs had stepped up, but despite being able to see the line and van Persie left-back Jason Davidson didnʼt, playing van Persie onside. Despite the swerving nature of the Brazuca – the match ball – Ryan has to keep Depayʼs speculative effort out.
Australia had contributed greatly to an entertaining match, but if Chile get a point or more against Spain tonight they will become the first team eliminated from the World Cup and despite being the lowest ranked team here, they will be missed.