Socceroos deliver 'most entertaining game of Cup'

Tim Cahill reacts after arguably his greatest ever goal. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Tim Cahill reacts after arguably his greatest ever goal. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

The Socceroos may be out of the World Cup but their performance against the Netherlands has won them accolades across the world.

ESPN journalist Adrian Melville said the 3-2 win to the Netherlands had been the most riveting game of the Cup.

The London Telegraph also declared the game a great spectacle, saying the World Cup should be awarded to both teams for creating "a ball, a brawl, a banquet, a blast: more than that, though, it was a -brilliant way to spend 90 minutes".

The Telegraph was abundant in their praise of captain Tim Cahill's goal.

"The immediate reaction was not bliss, but bewilderment. By the time Cahill reached the corner flag, punching it to the ground, the stadium had erupted in the shared experience of a deeply special moment," wrote Jonathan Liew, whose ongoing exalting enthusiasm might be at least partly due to lack of sleep and too much caffeine.

"When something like that happens, it lifts everyone. Every so often, the black and white of everyday existence is splashed with the colour of the unthinkable. If Tim Cahill can score a goal like that, imagine what the rest of us could do with our lives? We could see the world, learn languages, become the people we always dreamed of being."

The Guardian wove Cahill's goal of "skill and beauty" into a broader comeback narrative for the Australian side, who came 21st in the last World Cup.

"They answered those questions in resounding style as the triple gift of a wonderful goal from the country’s greatest ever player, a canny substitution from the coach, Ange Postecoglou, and some straight fighting spirit put the Socceroos, briefly and tantalisingly, into the lead against one of the most talented teams in this World Cup," wrote Aaron Timms.

Even the Dutch competition were celebrating Cahill's skill. called the goal "beautiful" while said Australia was "in a large part of the match the stronger team".

Indian news site ZeeNews praised the Socceroos for keeping the far stronger team on their toes, as did Michael Cummings in the US, writing for the Bleacher Report.

"The Socceroos acquitted themselves admirably, pushing the Dutch to the limit for more than an hour and taking a second-half lead before suffering a hard-fought defeat for the second time in as many matches." 

On US news site Heavy, Paul Farrell went so far as to claim the Socceroos were the better team of the first half.

"Despite the pre-game hype, it’s Australia who had the best attacking possession. Throughout the game, the hard running of Mark Bresicano and Tim Cahill has made the Dutch defense look panicked. Although neither player has really troubled the goalkeeper, the Dutch team didn’t get near Maty Ryan’s goal in the first half after Arjen Robben opened the scoring for them. Just before half-time, Louis van Gaal brought in Memphis Depay for Bruno Martins." 

ZeeNews was slightly more scathing of Cahill's yellow card.

"Unexpectedly, Australia enjoyed greater ball possession and have better stats from their more fancied side in all expects, barring the lone Yellow Card for Cahill," said the ZeeNews live blog.

"Australia have won just two of their previous 11 World Cup matches. Against the European opponents, they have one win in six World Cup fixtures -- beating Serbia 2-1 in 2010, and have one draw and four defeats. But most importantly, they have never kept a clean sheet in any of these games."

But the international football pro from whom many Australians would most like to hear a smidgen of praise is former Socceroos coach and Dutchman Pim Verbeek, whose prediction about the game proved inaccurate.

"Oh, [Holland] will win this game, not a single doubt," Mr Verbeek said. "I don't see any possibility that Australia will score a goal against the Netherlands."


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