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2014 FIFA World Cup: Netherlands hangs on to beat Australia, 3-2

By Evan Hilbert | CBSSports.com

memphis depay netherlands world cup
Memphis Depay saved the Netherlands Wednesday. (Getty Images)

More World Cup: Netherlands vs. Australia Matchtracker | Complete schedule

It was a valiant effort from the Aussies, but, alas, not enough.

There was a brief period in the second half when Australia led the mighty Dutch side, but that was quickly wiped away. Both teams now head into their final matches going in opposite directions.

It was an uninspired effort, at best, for Holland. After wrecking Spain in its opener, they couldn't quite find a rhythm against the Aussies. Still, the Dutch got away with the win, which is all that really matters. A solid showing against Chile next week -- without Robin Van Persie, remember -- and all the unpleasantness Wednesday will be forgotten.

Speaking of Chile, if they beat Spain Wednesday afternoon, the Netherlands will clinch a spot in the knockout stage.

FINAL: Australia 2 (Cahill 21', Jedinak 54') - Netherlands 3 (Robben 20', Van Persie 58', Depay 68')

89' -- Late free kick spoiled by the Netherlands, and another chance wasted by the Aussies.

80' -- Australia earns a free kick at the top of the box, but it's cleared well by the Netherlands. The Aussies are hanging in there, looking for the equalizer.

74' -- The chances arepiling up for the Dutch side as it appears the Aussies are running out of gas. It will be a miracle if they keep Holland at three goals.

68' -- Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh mercy. Life is unfair. Australia has a wide open net and gets stuffed, then the Netherlands' Memphis Depay fires one in from distance.

62' -- We've got about 30 minutes to play. Now seems like a good time to mention that Australia is ranked 62nd in the world.

58' -- The world is cruel. Van Persie equalizes -- just barely stays onsides.

56' -- Another runout for the Aussies, but Cahill kind of blows it with a bad pass. Still win a corner, though it's wasted.

54' -- Mile Jedinak bangs it home. This is unreal. Australia is leading the Netherlands.

53' -- It has been going this way for a while, and now the Dutch get burned. Handball in the box, leading to a penalty kick.

51' -- Wesley Sneijder -- haven't heard his name much today -- gets denied from the top of the box. Solid strike.

47' -- Moments later, Robin Van Persie is given a yellow card, so he will be out of Holland's match with Chile.

46' -- Right off the top Australia comes barreling down the pitch and actually drop on in the goal, however a foul will wipe this one away.

Halftime: Obviously a surprising half. The Netherlands looked nothing like the team that blasted Spain, and they're lucky to be tied at half. Australia will probably end up regretting the missed chances, because they dominated the game for the majority of the half and have little to show for it.

43' -- Bad news for Australia. Tim Cahill just got a yellow card -- his second of the tournament -- meaning he'll have to sit the Aussie's final group stage match against Spain.

Meanwhile, Martins Indi stretchered off after the challenge. He won't be returning. Hard to tell what the injury was.

41' -- Things have settled significantly as half nears. A few spare chances for the Aussies; nada for the Netherlands.

32' -- Yet another chance in the box for Australia off a free kick, but they can't capitalize. They are dominating the action right now -- deserve to be ahead.

31' -- Another wonderful chance for the Socceroos, but Bresciano's strike sails over the net.

26' -- This game was a snooze-fest until the 20' mark, and things have picked up considerably. I just can't get over Australia's answer. The Robben goal was so simple and demoralizing.

25' -- The Netherlands just miss on a corner. Meanwhile I'm gonna watch the Cahill goal on loop forever.

21' -- NO STOP. Australia's Tim Cahill answers with an absolutely amazing one-touch goal. Unreal.

20' -- Well, forget it. Arjen Robben takes advantage of some sloppy Australia play for a goal.

18' -- Hey! We got one on goal. Robin Van Persie's header off a free kick is stopped, though.

17' -- Some Dutch miscues leads to a chance for Australia, but Mark Bresciano's shot is deflected out for a corner. The Aussies are taking the game to Holland early.

14' -- I guess it's unfair to have expected the Netherlands to come out on fire again, but their effort thus far has been...uninspiring.

10' -- Sloppy start for the Dutch, but Australia has been unable to capitalize. Neither side has attempted a shot on goal.

6' -- Early chance blown by Arjen Robben, whose first touch in the box is just horrendous.

4' -- Bruno Martins Indi limps off for Holland. Perhaps just a dead leg -- looks like he'll come right back in.

1'-- Early foul at midfield by Australia, and we're underway!

Pregame

11:50 p.m. ET: Tall task for the Australians, who are the lowest-ranked team in the Cup. The Netherlands had a class showing last week against Spain, and they'll be looking to build on that.

Here are the lineups:

Netherlands: Jasper Cillessen; Bruno Martins Indi, Ron Vlaar, Stefan de Vrij; Daley Blind, Jonathan de Guzman, Nigel de Jong, Daryl Janmaat; Wesley Sneijder; Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie.

Australia: Mathew Ryan; Ryan McGowan, Alex Wilkinson, Matthew Spiranovic, Jason Davidson; Mile Jedinak, Matt McKay; Tommy Oar, Mark Bresciano, Mathew Leckie; Tim Cahill.

Netherlands vs. Australia (Group B) | Kickoff: 6/18, 12 p.m. ET | Stadium: Beira-Rio

Match Preview: What will the Dutch do for an encore?

After wrecking defending champions Spain in both team's opener, Netherlands will have a somewhat easier task Wednesday against Australia. Obviously a win here does plenty for Holland's chances of moving through, but it's perhaps more important to see how they follow up a truly dominant performance against Spain.

Australia, on the other hand, is the lowest-ranked team in the World Cup, though they had a respectable showing against Chile in their opener. If the Netherlands play Wednesday like they did last week, though, the Aussies may wish they didn't make the trip.

More World Cup: Scoreboard | Schedule | Group Standings | U.S. Team news

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