Netherlands (1-0-0) vs. Australia (0-1-0), 12 p.m. (ET)
06/18/2014 8:05 AM
06/18/2014 8:26 AM
Porto Alegre, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - The Netherlands will hope to take firm control of Group B on Wednesday when Louis van Gaal's side take on Australia at the Estadio Beira-Rio.
The Dutch side turned in an outstanding and equally shocking performance in its Group B opener after pummeling defending champions Spain, 5-1, in a rematch of the 2010 World Cup Final.
The Dutch fell behind in the 27th minute thanks to a converted penalty by Xabi Alonso, but Van Gaal's men roared back with four goals in the second half to avenge its 2010 loss in spectacular fashion.
Robin van Persie equalized in the 44th minute with an outstanding diving header that flew over the head of Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas to bring the sides level at the break.
Arjen Robben put Holland in front in the 53rd minute before Stefan de Vrij extended the lead 11 minutes later. Van Persie and Robben then capitalized on a pair of huge mistakes by Casillas in the 72nd and 80th minutes, respectively, to complete the rout.
"We played a fantastic game and were compact in defense and direct in attack," Van Gaal said. "We put pressure on them at all times, and there's no need for me to tell you just how dangerous Van Persie, Robben and (Wesley) Sneijder can be on the ball. Maybe our fitness was a factor, especially in this heat and humidity. The team is also mentally strong and we showed that today."
Australia will hope to stay in contention in the group after suffering a 3-1 defeat to Chile on Friday at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba.
The Socceroos were outmatched early as Chile banged home two goals in the opening 14 minutes.
Alexis Sanchez grabbed the opener in the 12th minute following a well-worked move from defense to attack. The sequence culminated with Eduardo Vargas squaring a pass for the Barcelona attacker to slot past Australia goalkeeper Matthew Ryan from close range.
Within two minutes, the South American side doubled its advantage, this time with Sanchez providing the assist. The 25-year-old drifted toward the top of the penalty area before slipping a pass to the feet of Jorge Valdivia, who took one touch to settle before curling a brilliant right-footed shot into the roof of the net.
Australia pulled one back in the 35th minute when Tim Cahill used his leaping ability to get on the end of Ivan Franjic's cross and nod the delivery past Claudio Bravo for his fourth career World Cup goal.
The Chileans then put the match away late on as Jean Beausejour collected a save from Australian goalkeeper Matthew Ryan and firing home a first-time effort from long range.
Three points will certainly be difficult for the Australians to come by against the Dutch, but a loss would likely send them home.
Join the Discussion
The Wichita Eagle is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.