Australia coach Ange Postecoglou expressed his disappointment after his team exited the World Cup following a brave 3-2 defeat against the Dutch, reports Sky
The Australians were widely expected to struggle against the rampant Netherlands, fresh from thrashing world champions Spain, after the Socceroos gave everything in their opening defeat against Chile.
But they matched the Oranje blow for blow, even leading the tie at one point before succumbing to strikes by Manchester United’s Robin van Persie and a long range effort from Memphis Depay which disappointingly evaded goalkeeper Matt Ryan.
While the final result may not have been a shock, the way the game played out devastated coach Postecoglou.
“I put pressure on the players and the staff to go and get at the big teams,” he said. “Saying it and doing it two different things. But today they did that and they didn’t get a reward. It’s heartbreaking.”
During the first half, 34-year-old striker Tim Cahill scored what is sure to be one of the goals of the tournament, a flying volley which tied the game at 1-1. He also spoke of his pride in how his team approached the game.
“It was an amazing performance,” said Cahill. “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.”
Australia now cannot progress beyond the group stage for the second World Cup in succession, after crashing out at the first hurdle narrowly on goal difference in South Africa in 2010.