World Cup 2014: Mexico v Netherlands

MEX 1 – 2 NED: Heartbreaking for Mexico who were well worth their excellent performance here but were stunned by an astonishing late Dutch comeback to let the game slip out of their hands. For much of the game Herrera’s Mexico had out-thought and out-muscled the Dutch who seemed to struggle in the sweltering heart of Fortaleza. For an hour it was all Mexico and they deservedly took the lead just after the break when Villarreal striker Giovani dos Santos curled a shot into the corner of the net from fully thirty yards. It was a memorable strike from the ex-Tottenham Hotspur forward and it was met by eccentric celebrations from coach Herrera. The goal seemed to spur the Dutch into life and suddenly Arjen Robben looked like the player who has terrorised defences all season. He became unplayable at the end of the game. Running with the ball at pace, delivering balls into the danger area of the box and generally being at the heart of everything the Dutch did well going forward. His in-swinging corner was met by young centre back de Vrij only five yards out, however somehow the outstanding Mexican goalkeeper Ochoa parried the ball against the post and away from danger. It was a remarkable stop and highlighted what an excellent tournament Ochoa has had. The pressure finally told in the closing moments of the game when another Robben corner was knocked back down into the box and Wesley Sneijder volleyed home from twelve yards to equalise. Minutes later Mexico captain Rafael Marquez could’t handle the onrushing Robben who was felled in the box and a penalty given for the Dutch to win the game. Huntelaar made no mistake and sent the fortunate Dutch through to the quarter finals. The devastation on the faces of the Mexicans was there for all to see as they slumped to their knees at the final whistle contemplating how close they had come to a major achievement and a deserved upset. They go home with pride but many will often wonder of what could have been. The Dutch survive and will use this as a wake up call to push on through the next round. They cannot keep relying on Robben, they need to find more from their front line to progress.

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