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World Cup Recap: Mexico vs. Netherlands

For more than 85 minutes Mexico flirted and with the chance of achieving a historical World Cup result. Unfortunatley for Mexico, the Netherlands came back in thrilling fashion to score twice in a span of five minutes, in their round of 16 match in Fortaleza.

Mexico, the second place team from Group A, and Group B’s winner Netherlands met for the opportunity to advance into the quarter finals of the tournament and a date with either Costa Rica or Greece.

In a first half that was very tight and leveled, it was the Mexicans that found the better, more dangerous chances.  Through shots from Hector Herrera, Carlos Salcido and Giovanni Dos Santos, the Mexicans were able to put Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen’s goal under duress while its defense kept Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben relatively in check.

Injuries to Dutch Nigel de Jong and Mexican Hector Moreno, who was later confirmed to have fractured his left tibia, forced both coaches to make unplanned first half substitutions.

The second half brought more of the same action seen in the first.  Mexico, still slightly outplaying their Dutch counterparts, took the lead off a brilliant Giovanni Dos Santos strike from outside of the box in the 48th minute that brought the Mexican dream of advancing into the quarterfinals closer to a reality.

For the next 40  minutes Mexico proceeded to, by own intention or by the Dutch pressure, fall back into its own territory and dangerously defend the slight lead.  The Netherland’s domination became overwhelming, although not too effective, with their best chances coming off of set pieces and being met with a couple of brilliant saves from Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa.

Destiny seemed to be in favor of the Mexicans who closed in on surviving the Dutch as the final minutes of the game arrived.  Then, on a the 10th Dutch corner kick of the game, Wesley Sneijder found a rebound at the top of the box and beautifully right footed it into the bottom left corner of the goal.

The Netherlands tied the game at one in the 88th minute, before taking the lead in added time thanks to a controversial penalty called on Mexican captain Rafael Marquez.  Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar took advantage of the opportunity and sentenced the game to final score of 2-1.

Mexico goes home with a defeat in the round of 16 for a sixth straight World Cup, while the Dutch continue their quest to redeem the loss suffered is South Africa four years ago against Spain in the final.  They will now await the winner between Costa Rica and Greece.

Luis Gonzalez may be reached at [email protected]


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World Cup Recap: Mexico vs. Netherlands