It may not be of any help to a deflated Australia team that came so close to causing an upset against a Netherlands side that had just thrashed the reigning champions, but Tim Cahill's stunning volley will probably remain the goal of the tournament.
“It was one of the five greatest moments of my life,” the renaissance man Tim Cahill said last night. His volley drew the Australians level, and then a second-half penalty saw the Socceroos briefly lead the Dutch, a team they had previously never lost against.
The Netherlands are now guaranteed a place in the last 16, but their final group game against Chile will decide whether they finish first or second, which could prove decisive. A second-placed finish would see them play the winner of group A, most probably Brazil.
Following this match, the Dutch's imperious mood they created by destroying the Spanish 5-1 has by no means been maintained. Australia were their equals. Furthermore, there was the extraordinarily good fortune that Robin van Persie should feel at not being dismissed for a lunging tackle on the opposition captain Mile Jedinak, when he had already been booked.
Louis van Gaal's second-half formation shift is being credited as the significant game changer.
“As a coach, I needed to change something at half-time. I had to change their mind-set because they needed to play the ball round, and you can do that by means of a different strategy –something to hold on to – and they will have faith and hope. Fortunately it turned out OK, but it could just as well have turned out different,” van Gaal said after the game.Reuse content