• Saturday, November 22, 2014

WC ROUND OF 16: MEXICO VS NETHERLANDS

Sneijder-fired comeback sees Netherlands through

Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder shoots and scores his team's first goal past Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico during their World Cup Round of 16 match at Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images
Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder shoots and scores his team's first goal past Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico during their World Cup Round of 16 match at Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images

The Netherlands staged a dramatic late comeback to win 2-1 and ensure that Mexico's FIFA World Cup last-16 hoodoo continued, Goal.com reports.

Leading 1-0 with two minutes remaining in Fortaleza on Sunday, Miguel Herrera's men stood on the verge of reaching the last eight of the tournament for the first time since 1986, having exited in the second round in each of the past five finals.

However, substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar played a leading role in turning the game on its head, setting up the equaliser for Wesley Sneijder in the 88th minute before converting a stoppage-time penalty after Rafael Marquez was adjudged to have brought down Arjen Robben.

It meant heartbreak for Mexico, who had taken the lead through Giovani dos Santos' fine strike three minutes after half-time, and for long periods it looked as though the Dutch were wilting in the scorching 38-degree (100 Fahrenheit) temperatures.

But Huntelaar, introduced in the 76th minute to replace Robin van Persie, headed Robben's corner into the path of Sneijder to rifle home.

The Schalke striker then sent Guillermo Ochoa the wrong way from the spot to seal Netherlands' passage to the quarter-finals and ensure Mexico's last-16 curse was extended.

Van Persie returned from a one-match ban and slotted straight back into Louis van Gaal's starting XI. Van Gaal was forced into a change in the ninth minute when Nigel de Jong was replaced by Bruno Martins Indi, although signs of any injury were unclear.

Mexico, who had Carlos Salcido back in place of the suspended Jose Juan Vazquez, had the first sight of goal in the 17th minute when Hector Herrera fired wide of the left-hand post from just inside the area following good work from Oribe Peralta.

Miguel Herrera's men felt they should have had a penalty shortly afterwards, but Ron Vlaar's high foot on Hector Herrera went unpunished by referee Pedro Proenca.

Salcido then tried his luck from 30 yards in the 24th minute, his rasping drive causing Jasper Cillessen to move to his right and parry the ball behind for a corner.

Van Persie had Netherlands' first half-chance three minutes later, bringing down a ball over the top before firing into the side netting from an acute angle with his weaker right foot.

Following the first of two cooling breaks in which the players took on fluids to combat the searing temperatures, Mexico went close again just before the interval, Dos Santos seeing his effort saved by the legs of Cillessen.

The Dutch were denied a penalty of their own in stoppage time, Robben going down under a challenge from Hector Moreno, but once again the match official waved play on, with the latter carried off on a stretcher following the incident.

Mexico made a flying start to the second period, Dos Santos lashing a bouncing ball into the bottom right-hand corner from 25 yards three minutes after the restart.

Peralta threatened a second eight minutes later, but Cillessen was equal to his curling effort from just outside the box.

Netherlands came close to an equaliser in the 58th minute, but Ochoa made a superb reaction stop from Stefan de Vrij, tipping the ball onto the post after the defender met Robben's corner four yards from goal.

Sneijder then saw his 18-yard strike deflect narrowly over the bar.

Ochoa was called into action again in the 74th minute, rushing from his line to deny Robben as the Bayern Munich man bore down on goal, while Vlaar headed the resulting corner over the bar from six yards.

Then came the late drama.

Sneijder thumped a low shot beyond a motionless Ochoa before Marquez's trip on Robben handed Huntelaar the chance to clinch victory and inflict further heartache on Mexico.

THE GAME, AS IT PROCEEDED

90' + 7' FULL-TIME!

90' + 6' Time is nearly up for Mexico. Aquino manages to get down the right and slip a cross into the area, but Cillessen claims the ball just before it can sneak inside the post.

90' + 4' Penalty Goal Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

GOAL!!! NETHERLANDS TAKE THE LEAD IN FORTALEZA! Huntelaar steps up and coolly places a brilliant penalty into the bottom-left corner. Mexico are heading out!

90' + 3' Yellow Card Jose Andrés Guardado

90' + 2' Yellow Card Rafa Márquez

90' + 2' PENALTY TO NETHERLANDS! Robben does brilliantly down the right, breezing past two men and then getting to the byline. He cuts back on to his left foot and is clumsily brought down by Marquez.

90' + 1' There will be six minutes of stoppage time.

89' That is such a cruel blow for Mexico, who have been very good today. However, a goal did look to be coming and the Netherlands will be buoyed. Can they clinch a second?

88' Assist Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

88' Goal Wesley Sneijder

88' GOAL!!!! NETHERLANDS ARE LEVEL!! Robben's corner is met by Huntelaar, who heads the ball back to the edge of the area and Sneijder smashes a half-volley into the bottom-left corner. Ochoa had no chance!

86' Fantastic save again from Ochoa as Robben's cross is flicked on and Huntelaar volleys it at the goalkeeper from point-blank range, but the forward was offside, so Ochoa's save won't be reflected in the statistics.

84' The Netherlands win themselves another corner on the right as Kuyt knocks a cross on to a defender and out of play. These next five minutes or so will be long for Mexico.

82' That break does appear to have helped Mexico, who have enjoyed a decent spell of possession since proceedings were re-started. However, it will surely only be a matter of time before Netherlands have the Mexicans under intense pressure again.

Mexico and Dutch fans soak up the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Estadio Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images
Mexico and Dutch fans soak up the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Estadio Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images

80' SALCIDO MUST DO BETTER! Carlos Salcido found himself as the furthest forward for Mexico and after the ball dropped kindly for him on the edge of the area, the former Fulham man sent an unchallenged volley well over.

79' We are back underway as we approach the final ten minutes. Mexico have the quarter-finals in their sights.

77' And now we have the match's second "cooling break", which I am sure will come as a relief for Mexico, who are under a lot of pressure.

76' Substitution: Robin van Persie OUT, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar IN

75' Substitution: O. Peralta OUT, Javier Hernández IN

75' Robben fires the resulting corner into the danger area and again Mexico fail to win the first ball as Vlaar meets it with a crashing header, sending it over the crossbar.

73' BIG SAVE FROM OCHOA! Mexico are really struggling to cope with Robben now. The winger slaloms into the area, skipping over a hopeless challenge from Marquez and then shooting from an acute angle, but Ochoa denies him.

71' Good play by Herrera, who has been impressive today. The central midfielder finds a gap down the left and charges into the space. He drives a powerful delivery across the face of goal, but Peralta was nowhere to be seen.

69' Yellow Card for Paul Nicolás Aguilar

69' Robben has been far better in the second half and he is running at Mexico again down the right. He skips inside one challenge and then goes to ground just inside the area after being clipped by Reyes, but he does get a penalty. That looks to be the correct decision.

67' Mexico have the ball in the back of the net, but it won't count as Peralta was offside. That just shows you how quickly Mexico could break through the Netherlands if they need to

66' Mexico appear to have held off the Netherlands for now as they bring the ball out from the back, link up well in the middle and attempt to cut through the Dutch.

64' Good play again by Robben as he cuts inside on to his left foot and clips a cross into the area. Van Persie can't quite reach it and the ball flies just wide of the far post.

Mexico and Dutch fans soak up the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Estadio Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images
 
Mexico and Dutch fans soak up the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Estadio Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images

63' This is all Netherlands at the moment. They are putting their opponents under intense pressure, but they have to stay alive to the threat of a counterattack. Mexico impressed greatly in a similar situation against Croatia and then ultimately picked Niko Kovac's men off.

61' Substitution Giovani dos Santos sits for J. Aquino

59' The Netherlands have responded fairly well to falling behind, but they still can't find a way through, for one reason or another. Depay is the latest to try his luck on the attack, but Aguilar does well to win a goal kick off him.

57' WHAT A SAVE BY OCHOA! Robben whips in a ferocious corner from the right and De Vrij directs it towards goal, but Ochoa makes a reaction save and knocks it on to the left-hand post. Fantastic save.

56' Substitution: Paul Verhaegh sits for Memphis Depay

56' There is Van Gaal's first throw of the dice. He introduces Memphis Depay, who has impressed from the bench in this tournament, and he replaces Verhaegh.

55' In goes another corner, but once again the Dutch are unable to take advantage of the set play. That was a waste of a couple of good situations.

54' The Netherlands are enjoying a little bit of pressure at the moment, but they need to make the most of it. Robben attacks down the right and wins a corner off Reyes, with the set-piece quickly knocked behind again by a Mexican defender.

53' The Dutch do have a free-kick in a decent position now, though. Van Persie and Sneijder stand over it, with the penalty area full of players. The Galatasaray midfielder smashes his delivery straight into the wall, though.

52' What a dreadful start to the second half for the Netherlands. They really did struggle in the first half, with many citing the climate, and Mexico have hit them with something of a sucker-punch right after the break.

50' Mexico have another chance now. They win a free-kick in an advanced position on the right and Herrera curls it into the danger zone, but Marquez heads over the crossbar.

Mexico and Dutch fans soak up the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Estadio Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images
Mexico and Dutch fans soak up the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Estadio Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images

48' Goal Giovani dos Santos

GOAL!!! MEXICO TAKE THE LEAD! They have been far better than the Netherlands and they have a deserved goal! Giovani pounces on to a bouncing ball, controls it on his chest and then smashes an unstoppable hit into the bottom-right corner from 30 yards.

48' Mexico are not wasting any time getting on to the attack. They look to get straight at Netherlands down the left, but De Vrij sticks a foot in on the edge of the area to halt their passage.

46' Substitution Héctor Moreno sits for D. Reyes

46' Here we go. We are back underway for the second half.

The referee blows his whistle to end the first half, which I'm sure the Dutch are grateful for. Van Gaal's men have not looked comfortable in the heat, while Mexico have posed a much greater attacking threat. Excellent chances have by no means been frequent, but the first half did have some entertaining spells.

45' + 4' HALF-TIME!

45' + 3' Moreno appears to be in significant pain after that. The highly-rated Espanyol defender took a bang to his left left and is carried off on a stretcher.

45' + 2' DUTCH PENALTY CLAIMS REJECTED! Mexico got sloppy at the back and Van Persie pounced, racing towards the penalty area with Robben in support. His pass is cut out by Marquez, but his touch is heavy and Robben nips in front of the defender. The Bayern winger then goes to ground due to the combination of Moreno and Marquez crashing into him, but no penalty is given.

45' + 1' There will be four minutes of stoppage time.

44' Netherlands do not look like causing Mexico problems here, let alone pick up a win. Half-time is approaching and the Dutch haven't really had a clear-cut chance.

42' INCISIVE PLAY BY MEXICO! Herrera plays a good pass forward for Peralta and he produces a clever flick to pick out Guardado, who inadvertently plays a first-time pass into the area. Giovani races on to it and tests Cillessen from an acute angle, but the goalkeeper makes a block.

44' Netherlands do not look like causing Mexico problems here, let alone pick up a win. Half-time is approaching and the Dutch haven't really had a clear-cut chance.

42' INCISIVE PLAY BY MEXICO! Herrera plays a good pass forward for Giovani and he produces a clever flick to pick out Peralta, who immediately plays a first-time pass into the area. Giovani collects the ball again and tests Cillessen from an acute angle, but the goalkeeper makes a block.

 

Netherlands' goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen (L) dives on a shot by Mexico's defender Andres Guardado (2ndL) during a Round of 16 football match between Netherlands and Mexico at Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 29, 2014. Photo: Getty Images
Netherlands' goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen (L) dives on a shot by Mexico's defender Andres Guardado (2ndL) during a Round of 16 football match between Netherlands and Mexico at Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 29, 2014. Photo: Getty Images

41' There are now a huge number of empty seats visible in the lower sections of the stadium. Fans appear to have deserted the stands in order to seek cover from the sun.

39' The Netherlands' final ball really has been poor so far. On this occasion Kuyt tries to latch on to a pass into the left side of the Mexico area, but it is too strong and Marquez guides it out of play.

37' Vlaar is not having a good match against Peralta. The Aston Villa man tries to deal with a long ball from the back, but he subsequently allows the forward to wrestle possession off him. The attack soon peters out after Peralta played the ball back towards Herrera, but that is definitely an area in which Mexico are having some joy.

36' Van Gaal's men have really struggled to keep Layun quiet so far and he gets into a great position once again, evading the attentions of Verhaegh. However, the wing-back's low cross is underhit and Cillessen pounces on it.

35' The players are back out in their positions and Marquez restarts proceedings by booting the ball out of play.

33' Due to the heat and humidity in Fortaleza, the teams are now having a "cooling break". Play should start again shortly.

31' The Dutch are enjoying another spell of possession now, but once again they aren't going anywhere with it. They look painfully short of ideas at the moment, with Sneijder struggling to get on the ball.

29' Mexico string together another good move in the attacking third. This time it only takes two of them to worry the Dutch backline as Giovani plays a pass into Peralta, receives the ball back and then fires at Cillessen from 25 yards. The goalkeeper scoops it up with ease, however.

28' That is a decent chance by Van Persie's standards. The Manchester United star does well to bring a lofted ball down in the area while stretching, but he slices a right-footed effort wide.

Mexico's forward Oribe Peralta (L) challenges Netherlands' defender Ron Vlaar for the ball during a Round of 16 football match between Netherlands and Mexico at Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 29, 2014. Photo: Getty Images
Mexico's forward Oribe Peralta (L) challenges Netherlands' defender Ron Vlaar for the ball during a Round of 16 football match between Netherlands and Mexico at Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 29, 2014. Photo: Getty Images

27' The Netherlands are finally seeing some possession now, but Mexico are allowing them to keep the ball as they see no threat to themselves when the likes of Vlaar are on the ball.

25' Herrera fires in the corner, but his delivery is a little strong and it evades everyone in the area. Nevertheless, Mexico's excellent start to this match continues. They aren't giving Netherlands a moment of peace.

24' Nervous goalkeeping from Cillessen there. Salcido, who has scored some spectacular goals in his time, takes aim about 35 yards from goal. His effort is on target, but straight at the goalkeeper. However, Cillessen unconvincingly parries it around the post.

23' Robben is clearly growing frustrated. He does well to run with the ball across the edge of the Mexico area and he is tripped up, but the Bayern star does not get a free-kick.

21' Herrera is lucky to still have a head on his shoulders. The midfielder charged into the area, trying to hold off Vlaar and when challenging for the bouncing ball, the defender kicked Herrera on the back of his head. He appears to be fine, but he doesn't look happy.

19' The Netherlands have been very slow getting into this and a decent attempt for a chance goes begging as Wijnaldum cuts a low cross into the danger area, but Mexico get a free-kick as Van Persie is penalised for a significant tug on Marquez's shirt.

17' SO CLOSE FOR HERRERA! Fantastic move by Mexico. Giovani does brilliantly to exploit the space behind Kuyt, getting into the area in the process and then cutting a pass back to Peralta. The forward bides his time and then coolly sets up Herrera once he realises he is being crowded out, but Herrera slides an effort just wide of the bottom-left post.

15' Netherlands have tentative penalty claims ignored by the referee as Robben broke into space on the left flank and then ran at the defender. The Bayern man was forced out wide and then crossed, claiming the ball struck a hand. Nothing given, however.

Nigel de Jong of the Netherlands shakes hands with head coach Louis van Gaal as he exits the game during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images
Nigel de Jong of the Netherlands shakes hands with head coach Louis van Gaal as he exits the game during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images

14' The lively Layun is in devastating mood again. This time he charges down the left, skipping past Verhaegh before flashing a dangerous ball across the face of goal. Giovani is unable to get a touch on it, though.

13' Mexico have definitely started as the better team so far. De Vrij gets himself into a spot of both on the left and Peralta nudges him out of the way. The forward tries to pick out a cross for Giovani, but Vlaar nods away.

12' Herrera has been very lively during the opening proceedings. He does link up with Peralta on this occasion, with the forward producing a clever backheel, but a heavy touch from Herrera sees the Dutch receive possession.

11' Very clever play by Herrera as he comes deep to receive a pass from Aguilar, steps over it and then collects a first-time pass from Giovani dos Santos. The FC Porto midfield then feeds a pass into the area for Peralta, but he was not on the same wave length.

9' Substitution Nigel De Jong sits for Bruno Martins Indi

9' Well, that's a very early substitution. Nigel de Jong has lasted just nine minutes as he walks off the pitch to be replaced by Martins Indi, who will likely slot into the centre of defence, while Blind moves into midfield.

8' Cillessen almost plays his defenders into trouble. Peralta chases a lofted ball over the defence and although the goalkeeper comes to meet it, he slices his clearance uncontrollably. Luckily for the Dutch, however, Mexico don't pounce.

6' Layun finds himself in the attacking third once again. Herrera does well to ride a couple of challenges after coming in from the right. He eventually pokes a pass to the Club America man, but he shoots wide from 25 yards.

4' The Netherlands set out for their first attack of the match and they eventually work the ball out to Sneijder on the left. The Galatasaray man floats a decent cross into the area towards the isolated Van Persie, but the ball goes harmlessly out of play.

3' There is the match's first shot and Miguel Layun certainly isn't short of confidence as the wing-back cuts in from the left after being given so much space and his long-range effort goes just over the crossbar.

1' We're off in Fortaleza!

The teams are now out on the pitch for the national anthems.

Mexico and Dutch fans soak up the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Estadio Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images
Mexico and Dutch fans soak up the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Estadio Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images

Mexico, meanwhile, are almost at full strength, but Vazquez misses out due to suspension. Experienced campaigner Carlos Salcido, who used to play in the Netherlands for PSV Eindhoven, takes his place. Hernandez remains on the bench, despite scoring against Croatia.

Louis van Gaal had been forced into a couple of changes from his first-choice XI. While Van Persie is back after being rested against Chile, Stefan de Vrij and Daryl Janmaat both miss out. Dirk Kuyt comes into an unfamiliar role as a left-sided wing-back, while Verhaegh slots in on the right. Jonathan de Guzman misses out too, with Wijnaldum taking his position in the midfield.

I don't want to curse this match before we've even started, but what an entertaining match we have in prospect today. Both of these sides were fascinating to watch in the group stage, with neither sitting back and looking to absorb pressure. The Dutch will unsurprisingly go into the match as favourites, but that will be fine with Mexico, who few expected to progress from Group A.

Mexico subs: Corona, Talavera, Reyes, Fabian, Jimenez, Pulido, Hernandez, Ponce, Brizuela, Aquino, Pena.

Mexico (3-5-2): Ochoa; Rodríguez, Márquez, Moreno; Aguilar, Herrera, Salcido, Guardado, Layún; Giovani, Peralta.

Netherlands subs: Vorm, Krul, Martins Indi, Janmaat, De Guzman, Veltman, Kongolo, Clasie, Lens, Fer, Huntelaar, Depay.

The Netherlands (3-4-1-2): Cillessen; Vlaar, De Vrij, Blind; Verhaegh, De Jong, Wijnaldum, Kuyt; Sneijder; Van Persie, Robben.

CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:

Hello and welcome to the LIVE text commentary of the FIFA World Cup last-16 clash between Netherlands and Mexico in Fortaleza. I am Ryan Benson and I shall be describing the action for you as these two sides target a place in the quarter-finals.

Commentary: Goal.com

Published: 12:07 am Monday, June 30, 2014

Last modified: 9:50 pm Monday, June 30, 2014

TAGS: Mexico Netherlands world cup Brazil 2014

Leave your comments | Comment Policy
BIT DEFENDER