Midfielder Arjen Robben netted the 50th goal of the World Cup when he burst forward from the halfway line to put Holland 1-0 ahead against Australia.
But the wait for goal 51 did not take long with Australia’s Tim Cahill equalising 69 seconds later with what could be the goal of the tournament, a sensational left-foot volley from the edge of the Dutch area.
The race for 50th was set up by Russia’s scoring machine Alexander Kerzhakov, who netted to earn a point in a 1-1 draw against South Korea in Cuiaba late on Tuesday.
Brazil and Mexico may have finished scoreless – not a result many expected and due in no small part to Mexico goalkeeper Memo Ochoa – but there was plenty of quality elsewhere, including a towering header from the pirouetting Marouane Fellaini that brought Belgium level against Algeria.
Fellaini may have started as a substitute but ultimately looked more like the powerful figure that marked him out at Everton rather than the shadow of himself he became in a difficult first season at Manchester United. Another Belgian substitute, Dries Mertens, scored the winner in Belo Horizonte.
Less inspiring was Russia’s 1-1 draw with South Korea. Lee Keunho’s speculative effort embarrassed Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to put the Koreans in front but the veteran Kerzhakov, prolific with Zenit St Petersburg and Russia’s leading marksman, scored a simple equaliser.
Net gains: Muller on mark for Golden Boot
3 – Muller (Germany)
2 – Van Persie, Robben (both Holland), Neymar (Brazil), Benzema (France).