Australia vs. Netherlands: Preview for World Cup 2014 Group B Clash
When and Where: The 2014 World Cup Group B match will kick off from the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre
Brazil's time zone is UTC/GMT -3 (1 pm local time) / 9:30 pm IST
Netherlands will have to guard against complacency against Australia in their second Group B clash after stunning 5-1 victory over the defending champions’ Spain last week. The Oranje have made a statement that they have what it takes to win this tournament but first and foremost will have one eye on the knockout stage. On the other hand, this game will probably be Australia's last chance to keep its hopes alive to go into the next round. Australia did lose 3-1 against Chile in their opening game, but they also showed an aggressive and competitive side to their game.
The Australians suffered a huge blow when attacking full back Ivan Franjic injured his hamstring against Chile, ruling him out for the rest of the tournament. Other than that, Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has no injury worries and should stick with his 4-2-3-1 formation. Adelaide United’s Dylan McGowan is expected to take injured Franjic’s place at the back.
Netherlands coach and master tactician Louis van Gaal has no injury worries ahead of this match and would be glad that Wesley Sneijder- who only just returned from an injury lay off- got a full 90 minutes under his belt. Captain Robin Van Persie despite injury worries before the start of the tournament is also looking sharp and decisive in front of goal after his sensational performance against Spain.
Possible Starting XI:
Australia (4-2-3-1): Ryan; Davidson, Spiranovic, Wilkinson, McGowan; Jedinak, Milligan; Oar, Bresciano, Leckie; Cahill
Netherlands (4-3-3): Cillessen; Blind, Vlaar, Martins Indi, Janmaat; De Jong, De Guzman, Sneijder, Windjalum, Van Persie, Robben
Robin Van Persie (Netherlands): “It was an amazing start for our World Cup and I think we’ve made a lot of people very happy,” he said. “I’ve seen the spectacular footage and images from the celebrations across the world and that makes me so proud.
“However, those were only the first three points. Now the focus is on Australia and I think that will be completely different to the game against Spain.
“Australia have a very different style and I think we are going to have to adjust our own game to beat them.
“It’s an interesting process, having to adjust your game every time. However, we have fantastic technical staff who know exactly how to prepare us for matches, so I’m not worried.”
Mathew Leckie (Australia): “I’m sure Chile didn’t expect such a hard game as what they got and Holland, obviously they’ve now seen that game and they’ll probably review it as well,” said Leckie.
“But we’ll definitely hit them in areas they won’t expect and hopefully we can be clinical in the opportunities that we get and we can put a few goals away.
“We’ll go out there with our game plan and hopefully we can play as well as we did for that 70 minutes against Chile and I think we’ll definitely have our opportunities to win.”
Robin van Persie’s 17-yard header was the longest headed goal at a World Cup since Bulgaria’s Nasko Sirakov in 1986.
Even though the Netherlands are the favourites for this game, tradition has been against them as the Oranje have never beaten the Socceroos.
Goalless Draw, International Friendly, October 2009
The Netherlands will surely make it two wins out of two, but the manner of it might provide a strong hint as to whether their stunning victory over Spain will be the springboard for a long stay in Brazil.
Group B is shaping up to be very interesting for the neutrals after world champions Spain were shocked in their opening match. Let’s hope there are more twists and turns along the way.
Quote of the Week: Robin Van Persie (Netherlands) on 5-1 thrashing of Spain: ‘After such a performance, the dynamics have naturally changed. However, as a country, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. We have to stay realistic. We achieved an impressive result but we have a long way to go to win this tournament. This is my fifth (major) tournament and I know how these things work; the euphoria vanishes just as quickly as it appears.’
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