Six key match-ups in Australia v Netherlands

Goal Australia looked through the probable starting line-ups to determine where the World Cup clash between the Socceroos and the Oranje will be won and lost.

1. Jason Davidson and Matthew Spiranovic or Alex Wilkinson and Ryan McGowan v Arjen Robben

Louis van Gaal has thrown the football world something of a curve ball by deploying Bayern Munich's Robben on the left at the start of games. Having made an art form out of cutting in from the right and shooting with his left foot, the 30-year-old hasn't been seen regularly on the other flank since his Chelsea and PSV Eindhoven days. 

He still ended up on the right often in the mauling of Spain, but that flexibility will keep Australia guessing. Robben is particularly likely to find joy down the right against what is likely to be a sluggish pairing of McGowan at right-back and Wilkinson on the right side of central defence.

2. Mathew Leckie v Daley Blind

One of the chief architects of Spain's downfall in their 5-1 humiliation was versatile Ajax man Blind, who supplied the cross for Robin van Persie to nod home his now famous headed goal. Largely neglected by Spain's narrow midfield and forward line, it will be up to the hard-running Leckie to close Blind down or track back and help McGowan against him when necessary. 

3. Alex Wilkinson and Matthew Spiranovic v Robin van Persie

Whenever Wilkinson and Spiranovic aren't helping out their respective fullback in containing Robben, the other will have to worry about the threat of Van Persie, who has it all - pace, intelligence, strength, extraordinary technique and a ruthless goal-scoring instinct. Spiranovic appears better equipped to deal with the Manchester United man, but both Socceroo centre-backs must be alert and on their game throughout the 90 minutes to have any hope of keeping Van Persie out.

4. Mile Jedinak v Wesley Sneijder 

The Crystal Palace and Australia captain has made a name for himself as the best tackler in the Premier League throughout 2013-14. He needs to do it again on Thursday morning and shutdown the playmaker who guided the Netherlands to the 2010 final. Sneijder hasn't recaptured the heights of that season, which also saw him lift the treble with Internazionale before fleeing to Galatasaray over a pay dispute at San Siro. But he remains a world-class number 10 and will be a huge test for Jedinak and his fellow holder Mark Milligan. 

5. Tim Cahill v Ron Vlaar 

Chile's diminutive Gary Medel, nominally a midfielder but pressed into service at the back, was always a prime candidate to fall victim to Australia's heading machine. Not so the rugged Vlaar, whose stock in trade at Aston Villa is competing in the air and outmuscling his direct opponent. With Australia hopeful of getting in behind the Netherlands' attacking wingbacks, just about all of the Socceroos' hopes will be pinned on Oar and Leckie supplying Cahill and the New York Red Bulls man doing the business with foot or more likely head. A fascinating one-on-one duel awaits.

6. Nigel de Jong v Mark Bresciano 

Just as Jedinak will seek to shutdown Sneijder, AC Milan's De Jong is the man most likely to try and shackle Socceroo playmaker Bresciano, who demonstrated his class yet again in the Chile match by using the ball carefully and efficiently. The veteran number 10 will be called upon to hold the ball up, bring deeper team-mates into the action and to try and play Oar and Leckie in, or go directly to Cahill if the opportunity arises. Bresciano will not see out the 90 minutes, so De Jong has an hour or 70 minutes to try and limit the Al Gharafa man's impact.