Robin van Persie and Stefan de Vrij,
during a practice session
Porto Alegre: After the Netherlands’ demolition of holders Spain in their opening World Cup match, Australia will have to plug the dyke to stop a flood of goals from the Oranje in their second Group E game in Porto Alegre on Wednesday.
The Dutch stunned the world with their 5-1 victory over a hapless Spain, highlighted by a sensational headed goal by Robin Van Persie and a swaggering, two-goal display from Arjen Robben.
A victory would leave the three-time World Cup runners-up poised to reach the last 16.
Since the humiliation of Spain, there has been much talk of a return to the Total Football of the great Dutch teams of the past, but this is still an uncompromising side and Wednesday’s match could be a crunching encounter.
Van Persie said they are wary of complacency.
“The tournament has barely started yet,” Van Persie said. “We achieved an impressive result but we have a long way to go to win this tournament. This is my fifth tournament and I know how these things work: the euphoria vanishes just as quickly as it appears.
“So we have to make sure that we hold on to it, not only for the people and fans, but also for ourselves.”
Van Gaal is expected to name the same side that started against Spain with Wesley Sneijder joining Van Persie and Robben in attack.
Australia, on the other hand, must pick themselves up from a 1-3 defeat by a tough and talented Chile side. Still, Aussie bravura was on show ahead of Wednesday.
“We just need to be confident and show we can play football like we did for 70 minutes (against Chile),” striker Matthew Leckie told reporters.
“Chile are a world-class team and they couldn’t handle us at times. If we can execute our plans, it doesn’t matter what team we are facing… They’re going to have problems.”
Speaking further, Leckie said: “I’m sure Chile didn’t expect such a hard game as what they got and Holland, obviously they’ve now seen that game and they’ll probably review it as well.
Australia’s most potent weapon in attack against Chile was Tim Cahill, who became just the eighth player to score in three World Cups with a fine header to bring his side back into the game at 2-1.