The Netherlands were arguably the most impressive team in the opening round of fixtures in the 2014 World Cup and they will have the opportunity to add more goals to their tally when they take on Australia at Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre at 2am (AEST) on Thursday morning.
The Dutch produced a scintillating performance against Spain, putting five goals on the defending champions, and are short-priced favourites to book their place in the second round with a win over Australia, but the Socceroos showed in their opening clash against Chile that they are no pushovers.
Leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes Australia are offering a wide range of betting markets on every match during the 2014 World Cup and have a number of special promotions available for this clash!
How They Will Play
Australia struggled with nerves in the first twenty minutes of their clash with Chile and conceded two goals, but once they got their formation set they were able to control possession and generally looked the team most likely to score in the second half of the game.
Holding midfielder Mark Milligan has been ruled out of this game and is a big lost. Who Ange Postecoglou chooses to fill Milligan’s position and partner Mile Jedinak in the midfield is a crucial decision and it appears that the coach is going to go with the safe option and select James Holland. While Holland has performed fairly at club level in Austria, he has never impressed for the national side and the consistent Matt McKay or the inexperienced Oliver Bozanic could prove to be a better fit for Postecoglou’s system.
Ryan McGowan will come into right back for the injured Ivan Franjic and he looked good when given an opportunity against Chile, while Jason Davidson will be hoping that he can replicate his stellar first-up performance against the Netherlands tomorrow morning. Matthew Spiranovic and Alex Wilkinson both bounced back from slow starts to play well against Chile, but the Netherlands will make them pay for any mistakes.
Matthew Leckie was one of the best players on the pitch in Australia’s game against Chile and he will be looking to get in between the Dutch defenders as often as possible. Marco Bresciano will remain in the number 10 role behind lone striker Tim Cahill, but Tommy Oar may be in danger of losing his place in the starting side after his lackluster effort against Chile.
Key Player – Mile Jedinak
The absence of Milligan is a big loss for Australia and Mile Jedinak will have to play at his very best to plug the gaps in the Australian defense. Jedinak will be forced to shut down the Dutch through the centre of midfield and will also distribute possession from the forward line to his attacking options.
The Netherlands were simply sensational against Spain and a lot of credit for that performance should go to manager Louis van Gaal. Van Gaal sent the Netherlands out in a way that played to their strengths, given Van Persie and Robben to get behind the defense, as well as neutralized those of Spain.
Van Gaal opted to go into the clash with Spain with a 5-3-2 formation and it worked brilliantly against Spain, but he could revert to a more traditional Dutch formation of 4-3-3 against Australia where his side will fancy that they can dominate possession. This could mean that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or Dirk Kuyt are brought into the side at the expense of Leroy Fer, but Van Gaal may decide not to tinker with a successful and winning formula.
The Dutch defense were not asked too many questions by Spain, especially in the second half, but Australia showed against Chile that they are capable of creating scoring chances. Tim Cahill is the obvious goal scoring threat for Australia and Dutch defensive midfielder Nigel De Jong said yesterday that his side will be working hard to neutralize the aerial threat that Cahill presents.
Key Player – Arjen Robben
Robben was sensational against Spain and his speed and explosiveness would be giving Australia’s defenders nightmares heading into this clash. If Robben is at his best he could tear the Socceroos apart and lead his side to another big win.
Based on their performance against Spain, the Netherlands deserve to be unbackable favourites against Australia, but this generation of Dutch players has often struggled for consistency and it would not be surprising if they produce a poor performance tomorrow morning.
Australia will have taken confidence from their performance against Chile as well as the fact that they have never been beaten by the Netherlands in three previous meetings.
World Cup Betting Plays
Netherlands are available at the short 2014 World Cup odds of $1.18 and that simply does not represent good value. It is difficult to see Australia winning and they are priced at $13 accordingly, but the $6.50 on offer for the draw could be worth a play.
Other bets worth considering include the $2.13 available for both teams to score during the match or the draw/Netherlands half-time/full-time double at $4.
World Cup Promotions
Leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au are giving punters the chance to get behind the Socceroos with confidence. Back Australia to beat the Netherlands and if they lose Ladbrokes will return your stake as a bonus bet.
On top of this very special offer, they are offering their special headline player markets. Arjen Robben is available at $2.20 to score at any time and for the Netherlands to win, while Tim Cahill to score at any time and Australia to win is available at the juicy odds of $19.