Porto Alegre (Brazil), June 18 :
The Netherlands survived a massive scare, coming back from a goal down to beat Australia 3-2 in a FIFA World Cup Groups E encounter at the Estadio Beira-Rio here Wednesday.
Arjen Robben opened the scoring for the Dutch in the 20th minute but Everton’s Tim Cahill levelled the score just a minute later.
Australian captain Mile Jedinak gave his team the shock lead with a 54th minute penalty.
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie made it all square four minutes later while substitute Memphis Delay scored the winner in the 68th minute.
The Netherlands were made to work extremely hard but the reward was great as well, the win taking them to six points and all but assuring them of a place in the next round.
While Australia slumped to their second straight defeat but their performance against the 2010 runners up would have only done them good.
The first 20 minutes of the match was a slow affair. The Netherlands failed to repeat the fast, precise build up play that saw them destroy defending champions Spain 5-1 in their opening match.
Robben, Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder, all stars of the previous match failed to gel up and too often gave the ball away cheaply.
Australia, meanwhile, were better in possession and did more creative play in the Dutch half.
It took some magic from Robben, who scored his third goal of this year’s finals as he burst through the middle and his stinging shot gave the goal keeper no chance.
Australia, though, struck back immediately with Cahill’s sumptuous first time volley stunning the Dutch.
The goal buoyed the Australian team that continued to pressurise the Dutch defence. Mark Bresciano should have given the Socceroos the lead but his effort flew over the crossbar.
The Netherlands attack found the going hard. Daley Blind, who received rave reviews for his performance against the Spanish had a very poor half as well.
The second half started much in the same vein as the Dutch failed to string passes together with Australia too having a hard time.
In an unfortunate incident for the Dutch, Brozovic’s attempted cross struck Daryl Janmaat on his left hand with the referee pointing to the spot kick.
Jedinak stepped up to score the seventh penalty of this year’s tournament that has already yielded an incredible 54 goals.
The goal seemed to finally wake the Dutch from their slumber as they started attacking the Aussie goal with much more precision.
Robben was again the go to man for the Netherlands as his runs down the right wing started creating havoc in the Australia defence.
Substitute Depay too had a positive effect and in the 68th minute, the 20-year-old’s swerving shot beat the Australian goalie.
With the Australians tiring the Dutch opened the game and could have easily scored a couple more.
In the end, Australia failed to find the equaliser as the Netherlands held on for the second straight victory.