The way the Netherlands overran Spain the other day, it looked like the Australians would be blown away by the Dutch in the first World Cup match between the two sides. (Agencies)
But the Group B match at Estadio Beira-Rio saw none of it and fortunes fluctuated between the two sides throughout the gripping 90 minutes with the Australians producing a gutsy performance belying the expectations from them.
Australia, the lowest FIFA ranking team among the 32 participants, refused to be cowed down by the reputation of the Dutch, who were the last edition losing finalists and who had just ripped to shreds defending champions Spain 5-1.
Instead, the Socceroos hold their own and at one stage took the lead around the hour mark. For a moment, it looked like Australia will tear apart the form book and pre-tournament predictions by upsetting the Dutch.
It ultimately boiled down to the difference in class between the two sides that decided the outcome of the match with the Dutch far ahead in that aspect.
With today's loss, their second after the 1-3 defeat at the hands of Chile, Australia are now virtually out of the tournament. The Dutch, on the other hand, are virtually through to the round of 16 after their 5-1 humiliation of Spain.
Arjen Robben, who scored two goals against Spain and mesmerised the defending champions' defence, put the Netherlands ahead in the 20th minute only to be restored parity by a stunning Tim Cahill goal next minute with perhaps the best goal of the tournament so far.
Australia stunningly took the lead in the 54th minute with captain Mile Jedinak converting from the spot after Daryl Janmaat handled the ball inside the box.
But within four minutes, Robin van Persie (58th) put the match on level terms with a left-footed finish after he was set in the clear by Robben inside the Australian box.
Second half substitute Memphis Depay then ended the Australian dreams by scoring the winner in the 68th minute.
The way the Netherlands overran Spain the other day, it looked like the Australians would be blown away by the Dutch in the first World Cup match between the two sides.