Dutch aim for group dominance against Australia

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 16, 2014 at 9:36 am •  Published: June 16, 2014
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"He's a terrific player that always gives his heart and his all on the pitch. For his country or his club," de Jong said. "We have to be careful because the timing to the ball with his headers is one of the best; he's one of the best timers I've seen from all the players around the world. So we have to take care of that very well. We have to take this game very serious."

The quality of the opposition always meant Australia was going to struggle in Brazil. The country has a history of gritty performance against stronger teams, and has shocked one or two bigger nations, but most of the larger upsets have come in friendlies.

Still, the players and coach believe, with some justification, that the score against Chile didn't tell the whole story. Down by two goals in the first 15 minutes, Cahill's 34th minute goal triggered a comeback that had the South Americans on the defensive for much of the second half. Chile's third goal came in injury time.

"If we get our start right the next game I think we'll be in with a better shot," said Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who is playing in his first Word Cup. "Hopefully we come out against Holland a lot more positive and being a lot braver in the beginning. Spain's loss highlights that anything can happen at a World Cup."

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou was handed a blow when attacking fullback Ivan Franjic tore a hamstring in the Chile match, ending his tournament. That has led to further upheaval in a defensive lineup already very much in transition and now facing Manchester United's van Persie and Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben.