Australia v Netherlands Preview

Group B | Wednesday June 18 | Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre | 18:00




Wednesday’s match opener sees Australia pitted against an explosive Netherlands side who will be looking for another impressive victory following their extraordinary 5-1 thumping of world champions Spain, while the The Socceroos will be determined to prove their critics wrong and show that they are not simply going to be Group B’s whipping boys.

To Win (90mins)
Australia 13/1 
Draw 11/2 
Netherlands 2/11

AUSTRALIA

Australia will need to pick themselves up after their disappointing 3-1 loss to the Chileans on Friday night but face an even difficult test against a rampant Dutch side.

Despite horror predictions of a thrashing, the Socceroos went down giving their all to a Chilean side that was clearly rattled for large stages of the second half.

The Australians had looked on course for a five or six goal beating after the South Americans started in sensational fashion scoring goals in the 12th and 14th minutes through Alexis Sanchez and Jorge Valdivia.

The Socceroos fans in the crowd took a big gulp and feared the worst, but their team somehow managed to claw back the situation.

They produced a wonderful fighting performance but it wasn’t enough to prevent a loss in their opening match of the World Cup in Brazil.

It doesn’t get any easier for Coach Ange Postecoglou’s men as they gear up against the 2010 finalists Spain and Netherlands in their remaining group matches.

Postecoglou will be expected to get his team fighting, with a heroic group stage exit probably deemed acceptable in the knowledge that the squad lacks quality in key areas.

Australia’s all-time leading scorer Tim Cahill who caused the Chilean back four numerous problems and scored a typically towering header will be The Socceroos biggest threat going forward and could be a nuisance for the inexperienced Dutch defence.

Postecoglou is building for the future and will be looking for encouraging signs from the youngsters he selects, rather than holding onto any realistic ambitions of getting out of the group.

NETHERLANDS

Louis van Gaal, one of the game's greatest coaches, was criticized before the World Cup for being too defensive for a nation that loves attacking play.

His decision to field five defenders against Spain though, proved a masterstroke. His team thrashed the defending world champions 5-1 Friday with a clinical display of counterattacking football that had Spain chasing shadows at the end.

The Dutch defence may not be what it was four years ago, but they were strong enough to not concede a single goal on the attack from the top-ranked team in the world.

What’s more, their world class forwards Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben look more polished and composed than they were in 2010, and they were ultimately the difference, as each player was one goal shy of a hat-trick.

The Netherlands’ main objective now will be to top the group and avoid likely Group A winners Brazil.

Daley Blind has been one of Dutch champions Ajax Amsterdam’s most-improved players this season and is equally comfortable at left back or in the midfield.

Blind is a tireless worker who is equally comfortable tackling back or driving forward in attack. He could be one of the relatively lesser known Dutch players to make a name for himself at the World Cup.

It seems hard to believe that four years ago in South Africa, Van Persie wasn't even the Netherlands' main striker.

He is now, the Manchester United star finally showcased his goal-scoring skills on the biggest stage against world champions Spain.

He’s incredible diving header is undoubtedly in contention for goal of the tournament and he’ll be looking to add a few more to his tally.

The Australian defence will also need to look out for Robben’s trademark move: dribbling along the right wing, cutting inside and curling a left-foot shot into the far top corner.

Robben's been doing it for years and still has defenders struggling to stop him.

Betting Prediction: NETHERLANDS handicap (-1) 6/10
The Dutch humiliated the world champions and could have even grabbed at least another two more. Van Gaal’s side possess a more lethal attack than the side we witnessed four years ago with the likes of Van Persie and Robben are at their peak. The Socceroos are in for a difficult time against a young Dutch team hungry to lift their first World Cup trophy. The Netherlands are tipped to oust their opponents on the handicap.  

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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