Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
June 18, 2014; 17:00 BST
Having decimated the reigning World Champions in their opening game, and producing one of the most memorable performances in the history of World Cup in the process, Netherlands will go in with a lot of confidence against the lowest ranked team in the World Cup, Australia.
Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie were a constant thorn in the sight of the Spanish defence and could once again be the difference between the two sides tonight. But the Socceros do have a good record against the Dutch side recently. In fact Netherlands are winless in the last three friendlies between these two teams, with Australia winning the tie in 2008 as Josh Kennedy scored a late winner.
Australia started their World Cup campaign with a 3-1 loss against Chile on Friday, and with matches against Netherlands and Spain in the horizon, this trip to Brazil could end poorly for the Socceroos. Ange Postecoglou will have to use his limited resources to their maximum potential to get a result in the game.
A win for Netherlands is almost sure to book their place in the next round of the tournament and Louis van Gaal will be eager to get the job done.
Team news and tactics
The only injury concern Ange Postecoglou has ahead of this game is that of 26-year-old right back Ivan Franjic. The Brisbane Roar defender was substituted at the start of the second half against Chile with a hamstring injury. Franjic has been ruled out of the tournament and Postecoglou will have to reshuffle his defence ahead of this clash.
Franjic was the only recognized right back in the squad and 24-year-old defender Ryan McGowan is expected replace him in the starting line-up. Despite the loss against Chile, no other changes are expected in the starting line-up Ange Postecoglou used in the opening game.
Tim Cahill, Australia’s all-time top scorer, will once again be the focal point of their attack and source of goals. If Tommy Oar and Mathew Leckie can provide the right delivery for Cahill to attack, he will cause trouble to the Dutch defence in air.
But Postecoglou’s biggest concern will be to contain the Dutch attack, which took apart reigning World Champions Spain in the opening game. Australia are unlikely to play a high line in defence, like Spain did, and provide space for the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie to run on to. They will sit deep and hope to hit Netherlands on the break.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Ryan (GK); McGowan, Wilkinson, Spiranovic, Davidson; Jedinak, Milligan; Leckie, Bresciano, Oar; Cahill
Louis van Gaal doesn’t have any injury concerns at the moment is likely to field an unchanged line-up in this game. Netherlands produced one of the most memorable performances in the World Cup history as they dislodged Spain in the opening game and will head into this match full of confidence.
Tactically Netherlands were spot on in their opening game as van Gaal used a 3-4-1-2 formation with Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie spearheading the attack. But they might need to change their tactics against Australia, who won’t play a high line in defence like Spain did and will sit back and wait for their opportunity.
Holland’s looked great on the counter attack against Spain and it will be interesting to see how they adapt to an opponent who is willing to let them dominate possession. The creativity of Wesley Sneijder and the pace of Robben will once again be the key to stretch the Australian defence.
Expected starting line-up (3-4-1-2): Cillessen (GK); Indi, Vlaar, Vrij; Janmaat, Guzman, Jong, Blind; Sneijder; van Persie, Robben
Players to watch-out for: Tim Cahill (Australia); Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
Prediction: Australia 0-2 Netherlands