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'Outstanding' Australia Earns Respect
Reuters, June 19th, 2014 11:22AM

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TAGS:  australia, netherlands, new york red bulls, world cup 2014

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Australia coach Ange Postecoglu praised his “outstanding” Socceroos for testing Louis van Gaal’s Dutch squad to the limit on Wednesday, but the Greek tactician admitted that the 3-2 loss, which meant early elimination from the World Cup, was hard to take. For long stretches, it looked as though the Aussies could actually beat the Netherlands, until Robin van Persie’s 58th-minute equalizer, and Memphis Depay’s swerving winner from distance 10 minutes later.

"I put pressure on the players and the staff to go and get at the big teams,” Postecoglu said after the game. “Saying it and doing it are two different things. But today they did that and they didn't get a reward. It's heartbreaking. Everyone was outstanding. For the majority of the game, we looked more likely to win the game than not."

New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill scored what was arguably the best goal of the World Cup so far with an unstoppable left-footed volley that came seconds after Arjen Robben’s opener for the Dutch. But that great goal will likely be Cahill’s last in a World Cup as the 34-year-old picked up his second yellow card, meaning he is suspended from Monday’s Group B finale against Spain. "It is what it is,” Cahill said. “I leave everything on the pitch. It was an amazing performance. We knew this was a chance. We thought we could win this game. We got close. We'll earn a lot of respect from today's game."

Robben, for one, agreed. “[Australia] played really aggressively," he noted. "They played like it was their last chance. We were a little bit under pressure, but we gave the ball away too easily. But we made big step today. We have maximum points. Goal difference can make a difference, so the first game [a 5-1 win against Spain] was like an extra point for us."

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