sport

Holland rally past Australia

Holland came from 2-1 down to beat Australia 3-2 in a thrilling World Cup Group B showdown in Rio on Wednesday.

The Oranje beat defending world champions Spain 5-1 in their opening match, but Louis van Gaal's men had to display their character and fighting spirit in their second.

Arjen Robben put Holland ahead with a fantastic solo run and goal on 20 minutes - but within 60 seconds a sensational left-footed volley from Tim Cahill brought Australia level.

Cahill then showed his bad side with a late challenge on Bruno Martins Indi, who was taken off on a stretcher, to earn a booking which sees the Australia talisman suspended for the final group game with Spain.

Robin van Persie - also booked to earn a suspension which rules him out of the contest with Chile - swiftly cancelled out Mile Jedinak's 54th-minute penalty with a fierce strike into the roof of the net before substitute Memphis Depay put Holland ahead on 68 with a 25-yard shot that Australia goalkeeper Matthew Ryan should have saved.

Holland's progress to the second round is still to be confirmed as goal difference is the deciding factor, but a draw against Chile next Monday would be enough.

A slow start was ignited by Robben, who received the ball just inside his own half, swerved past Alex Wilkinson at the halfway line and burst into the box.

The Bayern Munich forward then despatched a clinical finish across goal for his third of the tournament.

The Socceroos responded almost immediately with a goal reminiscent of memorable strikes from Dutchmen Marco van Basten and Van Persie.

Right-back Ryan McGowan drilled a cross-field pass over the Dutch defence and Cahill's exquisite left-footed volley went in off the bar in what is sure to be one of the goals of the tournament.

Mark Bresciano had the chance to convert a ball pulled back from the right soon afterwards but could not keep his shot down.

Cahill blotted his record by bundling over Martins Indi to receive a yellow card. The defender was substituted with an ankle injury, with Depay replacing him and Holland switching to a 4-3-3 formation.

Van Persie will miss Holland's contest with Chile after being booked within two minutes of the resumption for catching Matthew Spiranovic with a flailing arm.

Eight minutes into the second half Oliver Bozanic, on moments earlier for Bresciano, had a cross blocked by the arm of Daryl Janmaat and Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi awarded a penalty. Jedinak sent Jasper Cillessen the wrong way.

There was another quick response as Van Persie was played onside in receiving Depay's pass, turned and found the roof of the net with a thumping left-footed strike.

Tempers frayed following a challenge from the already-booked Van Persie on Jedinak before Mathew Leckie was unable to convert for the Socceroos, chesting a cross from Tommy Oar straight at Cillessen.

Seconds later Australia were behind as Depay's 30-yard strike swerved away from Australia goalkeeper Ryan, who let the ball skid over his hand as he dived low.

Nigel De Jong had a shot blocked as Holland tried to find a fourth in an end-to-end contest.

Australia had opportunities, too, but could not find a leveller as their hopes of reaching the knockout stages ended.