Australia have been eliminated from the 2014 World Cup after suffering a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to The Netherlands in Porto Alegre last night.
The Netherlands went into the game as clear favourites, after their 5-1 romp over Spain in their opening game of the tournament, but Australia were arguably the better side throughout the contest and took the attack to the star-studded Dutch team.
The Dutch opened the scoring against the run of play through Arjen Robben in the 20th minute, but Australia equalized almost immediately thanks to a Tim Cahill volley that will surely go down as one of the best goals of the 2014 World Cup.
Towards the end of the first half Netherlands Manager Louis Van Gaal opted to change his formation to a traditional Dutch 4-3-3, following an injury Bruno Martins Indi, and his side started to look more dangerous, but it was Australia who opened the scoring in the second half after captain Mile Jedinak converted a penalty.
The Australian defense suffered a lapse of concentration in the 58th minute, which allowed Robin Van Persie to score an equalizer, but Australia were still creating chances and Tommy Oar missed a golden opportunity to put the Socceroos back in front.
Australia were made to pay dearly for the miss chance and on the very next play Memphis Depay put The Netherlands back in front thanks largely to some poor goalkeeping from Matthew Ryan.
The Socceroos continued to press forward and chase a goal, but were unable to walk away from the game with a well-deserved point and after Spain suffered a surprise loss to Chile, Australia was eliminated from the tournament.
Australian coach Ange Postecoglou admitted after the game that he was heartbroken and disappointed by the result, but paid full credit to the way that his side came out and took the game to one of the favourites for the 2014 World Cup title.
”I just wanted the players to get the reward for the way they went about things today,” Postecoglou told Fairfax after the game.
“I have put a lot of pressure on the players to be a certain type of team and to take it to a world class opposition.
“We did it today but we didn’t get the reward and I am massively disappointed.
”We came to this World Cup and we are playing against three of the best nations in the world.
People were saying we were not going to score a goal, that we were just going to try to survive.
”We have only just started on this journey, the goal is that we come back in four years time and they fear us as much before we go on the pitch as much as they fear us on there now.
”I said all along that I was not going to discount this World Cup.
“We came here to make a mark, and we have had opportunities in both games to do so.”
Australia will have the opportunity to finish their 2014 World Cup campaign with a victory when they take on Spain next Tuesday and are currently available at World Cup odds of $7.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au to defeat the defending champions, who currently sit at the bottom of Pool B.