Australia vs. Netherlands: Dutch Prove They Are a True Favorite

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Australia vs. Netherlands: Dutch Prove They Are a True Favorite
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

The Netherlands men's soccer team is turning heads so far in this year's FIFA World Cup after beating Australia 3-2 on Wednesday, proving their 5-1 drubbing of Spain was not a fluke.

With just one more win needed to complete the sweep of Group B, the Dutch have scored eight goals in just two matches, the highest of any team thus far, and are well on their way to becoming a favorite to win it all.  

After dismantling the defending champs, Netherlands fought back from a 2-1 second-half deficit to defeat the Aussies, putting the Dutch in the drivers seat of Group B.

With a 20th-minute goal from Netherlands' Arjen Robben, the Dutch looked poised to cruise to an easy win. An Australian goal a minute later and another just after half-time would ensure the Oranje had to fight for their second win of the World Cup, and they did.

Robin van Persie found the net in the 58th minute for the equalizer. Minutes later, Memphis Depay blasted the longest-range goal of the World Cup thus far, with a dipping strike past Australian 'keeper Mathew Ryan.

Superstars Robben and Van Persie have scored three goals apiece in these first two contests, including the latter's flying header against Spain that may have been the goal of the tournament so far. 

In just two contests, the Dutch have used brute force, aggressive ball control and incredible efficiency to help boost them to the 2-0 start.

The efficiency is evident by their combined 28 shots, with 25 shots on goal (see below), and the brute force illustrated by their 43 combined fouls, including three players in the top 10 for total fouls in the tournament so far, according to FIFA.com. 

Netherlands v. Chile Preview
Team Shots Shots on Goal Goals Fouls
Netherlands 28 25 8 43
Chile 19 13 5 24

FIFA.com

Despite Spain not being the dominate team they were expected to be, the Dutch proved they can play against anyone. Only Chile stand between them and a sweep of Group B.

Regardless, the Oranje have secured a spot in the knockout stage and should be one of the favorites to reach the World Cup final on July 13.

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