Porto Alegre, Brazil (4E Sports) – Substitute Memphis Depay scored the go-ahead goal in the 68th minute to lift the Netherlands to a 3-2 triumph over Australia in Wednesday in Group B of the World Cup at Estadio Beira-Rio.
Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie also scored as the Netherlands moved closer to a spot in the round of 16.
Louis van Gaal’s men can become the first team to qualify for the round of 16 if Group B’s other match on Wednesday between holders Spain and Chile ends in victory for the latter or a draw.
Australia, meanwhile, faces a near impossible task to advance after losing both group games.
Tim Cahill earlier cancelled out Robben’s 20th minute goal – his third of the tournament — with one of the greatest scores in World Cup history in the 21st minute.
Ryan McGowan, playing at right-back in the absence of the injured Ivan Franjic, pinged a superb cross-field pass towards Cahill, who lashed an unstoppable left-foot volley that went past helpless Jasper Cillessen.
The half ended on a sour note for the Netherlands when Martins Indi was carried off the pitch on a stretcher after a poorly timed challenge from Cahill, who received a booking that means he will miss Australia’s final group game with Spain.
A controversial penalty from Mile Jedinak nine minutes after the restart had Ange Postecoglou’s men dreaming of an upset.
However, Van Persie quickly quashed those hopes by tying the match in the 58th minute with a neat finish inside the area.
Depay, who came in for the injured Indi, broke Australian hearts with a speculative effort past goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
Australia pushed forward in the closing stages in desperate search of an equalizer, but the Netherlands easily dealt with the danger to secure a place in the last 16.