World Cup: Van Gaal hails Holland as Aussies are brushed aside to reach last 16


HOLLAND manager Louis Van Gaal hailed the “incredible” strength of character his players displayed to come from behind and seal their progress to the knockout stages.

Australia, the lowest ranked team left in the competition, led 2-1 shortly after half-time, but goals from Robin van Persie and Memphis Depay clawed back the points and ended the Socceroos’ stay at the World Cup.

Van Gaal, who joins Manchester United following the end of the tournament, said: “The way the players came from behind was incredible. To recover and correct the situation showed a lot of mental strength. Fortunately it turned out OK, but it could have been different.”

Holland took the lead on 20 minutes through winger Arjen Robben, but former Everton midfielder Tim Cahill levelled less than 60 seconds later with a sumptuous left-foot volley.

Australia took a shock lead just after half-time when Crystal Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak blasted in from the penalty spot after Daryl Janmaat had been harshly penalised for handball.

But Manchester United’s Van Persie fired into the roof of the net to level four minutes later and Depay wrapped up the points with a swerving shot that goalkeeper Matthew Ryan should have saved.