World Cup: Second Half Performance Wins Bronze for the Netherlands

Orange washes away hangover with bronze medal at World Cup 

The Orangemen have won a medal at a World Cup for the fourth time in a row. In the consolation final of the global tournament in Bhubaneswar, a mentally strong Netherlands defeated Australia 3-1, mainly thanks to an excellent second half.

A few seconds before the end, the muscular bodies of Jip Janssen and Lars Balk were already pounding against each other. They were happy, very happy. The Netherlands had won the battle for bronze and showed themselves from the best side in the small final. It was a victory for the Aussies over themselves, after the fatal Friday.

After all, he arrived like a sledgehammer. The defeat of the Orange in the semi-final against Belgium. So close , but at the same time so far away . The Netherlands had the feeling that the Belgians could be beaten, but forgot to deliver the final blow at decisive moments and eventually lost on shoot-outs. As a result, the Dutch team entered the battle for third place on Sunday afternoon, against Australia, which lost to Germany (4-3) just six seconds before the end on Friday. The question was therefore who had coped best with the hangover of two days ago.

Thierry Brinkman is applauded after the 3-1. Photo: William Vernes

Fresh and eager

The Orange started, in front of not even a half-filled Kalinga stadium, at least fresh and eager in the duel for the bronze. Steijn van Heijningen could have tipped the Netherlands ahead after 31 seconds, but his effort went past the Australian goal. Less than half a minute later, Thijs van Dam rammed wide of the goal with his forehand. The tone was set, the first muscles showed. In that initial phase, the Netherlands impressed with fast combination play.

The strong playing Lars Balk keeps Australia’s Tom Wickam off the ball. Photo: William Vernes

Candy Crush in the stands

Australia was lagging behind, gasped and took the initiative after about ten minutes. After Aran Zalewski missed a big chance on the opening goal, it was hit shortly afterwards – now in the thirteenth minute. From the first Australian corner, Jeremy Hayward pushed sharply. Hard, through the middle. Between Blaak and his line stop: 0-1. That is a bit sour for Orange. Referee Dan Barstow concluded that Jip Janssen had made a shoot, giving him a corner. The Netherlands challenged that decision, but the video referee could not make sense of the images. The corner therefore remained standing, with all its consequences.

The chance for the equalizer came after 21 minutes, when the swift Van Heijningen decorated the first Dutch corner. Janssen – twice accurate in the semi-final battle – pushed the ball against goalkeeper Andrew Charter. It turned out to be one of the few opportunities of the Netherlands in the slow second quarter, in which the game lost much of its frills. Illustrative: an Indian journalist fell asleep in the press gallery, a colleague next to him had switched to a game of Candy Crush. So they did not see that the Orange became increasingly sloppy and completely lost the poison of the first minutes. Australia even got a chance at 2-0 through Tim Brand. Pirmin Blaak kept the Klein Switzerland striker from scoring.

Photo: William Vernes

Completely different face after rest

The same Brand gave the Orange a helping hand just after the break. A corner from Janssen – number four of the match – went in via the attacker’s foot. The Netherlands showed a completely different face and suddenly had a taste for it again. Australia really lost it for a while and made a huge defensive error two minutes later. Tim Howard lost a ball in his own circle to Floris Wortelboer, who served Thierry Brinkman. The striker hit with a quick wrist movement: 2-1. Orange smelled blood and squeezed. Thijs van Dam started a nice rush over about twenty meters and found Brinkman, who made it 3-1 from close range. 

Amazement at Thijs van Dam, who receives a yellow card and a ten-minute penalty. Photo: William Vernes

Australia was defeated, battled to pieces and no longer able to make up for that difference. Not even when Thijs van Dam was sent to the side for a sliding yellow and no less than ten minutes. For a moment the 4-1 even seemed to come on the board, but Lars Balk’s goal was rejected.

Australia, with a field player instead of goalkeeper Charter, attacked with all their might. But the Dutch ten were mentally strong, did not budge defensively and won 3-1. As a reward, the Netherlands will receive the bronze medal. A plaster on the serious wound of last Friday. In addition, Delmée’s team proved that top countries can also be won in decisive matches. A confirmation that the road to the top has really started.

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