Cahill's aerial ability could prove to be the Socceroo's saving grace. Photo: Getty Images/smh.com.au
Australia v Netherlands
Beira-Rio Stadium, Porto Alegre
Thursday June 19 – 2:00 AM (AEST)
Group B leaders the Netherlands are firm favourites to send the Socceroos packing from this year's World Cup as the pair clash in Porto Alegre on Thursday morning (AEST).
Flying high after their mauling of reigning champions Spain last week, the Netherlands are now fancied to qualify to the round of 16 atop of the group. Saturday’s 5-1 win was a result that raised eyebrows all around the world, and the Netherlands now shift their focus to the Socceroos – a team they’ve never beaten before. Holland showed in the Group B opener that they are very much an attacking minded side. Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben both netted braces in that match, with the Dutch’s electrifying pace on the counter one of the most lethal weapons in world football. Louis Van Gaal also has the luxury of fielding his strongest squad, with the win in Salvador producing no injuries.
The Socceroos were valiant in defeat against Chile in their Group B opener on Saturday, and they will need to dig deep once again if they are any chance of lengthening their trip in Brazil. Ange Postecoglou will demand a better start this time around from his men in green and gold, with the two early goals proving to be crucial in the loss. Tim Cahill loves performing on the world stage for his country, and he netted a trademark header against Chile to lift his World Cup goal tally to four. The Dutch will be extremely hard to keep out, and with news Mark Milligan will miss the clash after sustaining a hamstring injury in training. His absence opens the door for young defender Ryan McGowan, who will put on the green and gold jersey for just the eleventh time.
The Dutch should win this game and win it comfortably. After shredding the world champions to pieces, you just wonder what they are capable of doing against Australia, the tournament’s lowest ranked side. Postecoglou’s men will be out for a win to save their tournament, but their hoodoo against the Netherlands looks almost certain to end.
The other match in Group B could determine who joins Van Gaal’s men, assuming the beat the Socceroos, in the Round of 16. Who would’ve thought Spain would be staring at a group stage elimination in just the second match of the tournament? That, however, is exactly the predicament they find themselves in and if they fail to beat Chile, there’s a real chance they will be on their way home from Brazil.
From Ol' Mate Oracle....