PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil – A second-half by strike by substitute Memphis Depay gave Netherlands a 3-2 comeback victory over Australia in an absorbing World Cup Group B match on Wednesday.
The result puts Netherlands into a strong position to advance to the last 16 with two wins, including the opening 5-1 rout of defending champion Spain. It almost surely puts Australia out of contention with two defeats.
The Dutch opened the scoring in the 20th minute through a Arjen Robben solo effort but Australia responded seconds later, with Tim Cahill’s stunning volley making it 1-1 before the halftime break.
Australia took a surprise lead with a penalty after Daryl Janmaat handled the ball but Robin Van Persie made it 2-2 after collecting the ball in space on the edge of the penalty area and shooting low.
The Dutch are off to a promising start at the 2014 tournament, having trounced the defending World Cup champion Spain in the first match of Group B play last week. With two wins, Netherlands leads Group B and appears a lock to advance to the knock-out stage beginning July 4.
The Dutch royal family turned Porto Alegre’s Estadio Beira-Rio into a house of orange.
King Willem-Alexander and his wife Maxima were in Brazil for Wednesday’s match between the Netherlands and Australia in the southern city.
The sports-loving royals joined thousands of orange-clad Dutch fans at the stadium and thousands more Australians in their team’s green and gold.
It is almost a home game for Maxima, who was born and grew up in neighbouring Argentina.
Willem-Alexander and Maxima are regulars at sporting events like the Olympics when Dutch teams play. The king was a member of the International Olympic Committee before he ascended to the throne as head of the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange, last year.