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Socceroos win hearts but lose match

2014 World Cup: Australia v Netherlands-slide0
Photo by Vinicius Costa/Getty Images

They may have won plenty of respect but their World Cup hopes are over as Australia fell to a shattering 3-2 loss to Netherlands in Porto Allegre on Wednesday afternoon.

Australia celebrate their second goal
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

After a horrible start in their match against Chile all eyes were on the Socceroos early and they showed a much improved effort as they dominated the opening stages, passing the ball around with confidence early on.

In the 19th minute, after a slow start, Holland broke through as Arjen Robben beat Alex Wilkinson, allowing him to make a powerful run and shot low and hard leaving Mat Ryan with no chance.

But that lead was incredibly short lived as Tim Cahill scored perhaps the most phenomenal goal of his career as he hit a volley over his shoulder and over the goalkeeper’s head for a real contender for goal of the tournament to pull Australia level just one minute later.

Australia continued on in the second half and as the half started to draw to a close Australia could very well have made it two as Matthew Leckie sent in a ball for Mark Bresciano who could only send his effort over the bar.

The Socceroos continued to be the stronger side and they continued to pressure as Matthew Spiranoic was put in space on a set-piece but couldn’t get his shot on target.

Tommy Oar had the last chance of the half as he was able to get through the Dutch defense but was denied as his shot was blocked, allowing Holland to clear.

Australia started the second half under pressure, but after Oliver Bozanic came on in the 50th minute the match turned, and Bozanic forced a handball to earn a penalty.

That allowed captain MIle Jedinak to step up and hit a penalty that sent the keeper the wrong way to give Australia a stunning 2-1 lead.

Australia probably should have had three as some bad Dutch defending allowed Cahill to send a ball over the top for Matt McKay, but it was over hit, sending McKay wide, making life difficult for him.

But for Australia missing out on that chance proved costly, as minutes later Australia were made to play as Robin van Persie found space in the box and shot, finding an equalizer after a Ryan error.

Tommy Oar was left wide open in the box and had a golden opportunity to score but was denied as he made a poor decision, crossing in, letting Holland off the hook.

Holland made Australia pay instantly, as they ran down the field and had Memphis Depay hit a swerving shot, that caught Ryan out and put Holland back in front.

Holland tried to find some goals late on as Australia tired, but some good goalkeeping from Ryan kept them out, unfortunately the Socceroos couldn’t find another goal.

Australia fell but they won a lot of foreign fans, with the American North American Soccer League tweeting after the match “If you’re not Dutch and your heart’s not broken, you don’t have a heart.” It will be scant consolation for Australia but the future definitely looks bright for the Socceroos, who still lead Spain.