The Netherlands and Australia will play their second game in the World Cup today. Both teams had very contrasting opening results thus far. While Australia were dispatched 3-1 by Chile, the Netherlands gave the performance of the tournament so far (and possibly their lives) demolishing reigning champions Spain by 5-1.
Nevertheless, both sides played very well. Australia were not far off an unlikely upset. They certainly they did their country proud in defeat. Several of the team are trying to put themselves in the shop window, and another good performance here would likely enhance this. Coach Ange Postecoglu is unlikely to make wholesale changes, but Ivan Franjic, who impressed against Chile, is heading home after injuring himself in that game. Ryan McGowan will probably replace him. Mark Milligan is also out – depriving Postecoglu of a midfield option. Tim Cahill, who has scored more world cup goals than Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo combined, will battle for supremacy with Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar. Elsewhere, its probably as you were for the Socceroos who will be hoping to avoid the slow start which cost them the game against the much vaunted Chileans.
Oranje boss Louis Van Gaal specifically switched to a 5-3-2 formation against Spain, which turned out to be a masterstroke. The dilemma he faces now is whether to turn back to his more orthodox 4-3-1-2 which was used in qualifying and is historically close to the traditional 4-3-3 Dutch teams tend to play, or stick with the 5-3-2. Van Gaal has mentioned in the build-up that he may twist rather than stick.
This will mean Daley Blind, who conjured two superb assists against Spain, will likely be pushed into midfield where his passing skills may become even more effective. Bruno Martins Indi will revert to left-back from his position of left sided centre back vs Spain. Apart from this positional switch, the same players are likely to be retained after their glorious opening day win.
Netherlands 2-0 Australia.
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