Australia will be looking to open their account at the FIFA World Cup 2014 on Wednesday but it will not be an easy task being up against the Netherlands in their second Group B fixture. The match will be played at the Estadio Beira-Leo in Porto Alegre on June 18.
Australia, currently ranked 62nd in the world, failed to make Chile pay in their opener as the Socceroos failed to capitalize on a series of chances that were presented to them in the second half.
The likes of Matthew Leckie and Ben Halloran missed some clear-cut chances while Tim Cahill could have added to his goal tally had he not placed a header just above the crossbar as the ball kissed the roof of the net on its way to safety.
While Australia lost 3-1 against a well-drilled Chile team in their opener, it was not for the want of trying. After having conceded a couple of goals within a quarter of the game gone, the team from down under showed immense fighting spirit as they pulled one back through Cahill and kept going at it. It is thus no surprise that Cahill is the man who is backed to open the scoring for Australia at 16/1 (Bet365) again – and one of the reasons for it is that the Socceroos plan is to keep sending high passes over for Cahill to get his head onto.
The Socceroos did most of the things right against Chile after the first quarter of an hour or so but in order to register some points against the mighty Dutch they will need to take their chances as and when they arrive. And of course, they will need to create them as well – and this may not be as easy as it was against Chile.
Louis Van Gaal will be a happy man after his side gave the holders, Spain, a proper hiding in their World Cup 2014 opener. The match was seen as an opportunity to extract revenge for the final in South Africa in 2010, and the Oranje sure did not disappoint.
Van Gaal has come up with a new formation that is aimed to extract the maximum out of the creative players that Holland (FIFA world ranking 15) possess. However, at the same time, the Dutch have enough cover in defence as we saw in the opener and the friendly games leading towards the finals. It will be a challenge for any team to currently cope with the Dutch with the way that they approach the game from a tactical point of view.
Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben tore Spain to shreds with their speed, technique, and application the other day butWesley Sneijder also demonstrated why he is still considered one of the best in his positions as he pulled the strings from behind the two strikers. With a couple of goals each, it is no surprise that van Persie at 13/5 and Robben at 9/2 (Paddy Power) are the men who are backed to open the scoring for the Dutch on Wednesday.
Daryl Janmaat and Daley Blind were excellent in their full back roles while Nigel De Jong turned in a colossal performance the other night against Spain. The defensive trio of Stefan de Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi, and Ron Vlaar held firm against the world champions, only conceding from a penalty, which shows the strength that they possess at the back.
Netherlands will look to keep the momentum going against Australia, who will find it extremely difficult to break their opponents down on Wednesday should the Netherlands adopt the same approach against the Australians as they did in their opener. Netherlands are overwhelming favourites to win 2/9 (Bet365) this while the odds are stacked up at 83/5 (Betfair) against an Aussie victory.
Any-time scorer Robin van Persie: 4/6 (888Sport)
Netherlands to win to nil: 20/21 (Boylesports)
Highest-scoring half: Second half: 1/1 (bet365)