The Netherlands just defeated Mexico 2-1 in the World Cup Round of 16. Mexico led until the 88th minute, when Wesley Sneijder ripped one home before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar finished the scoring with a penalty kick. The score did reflect on a game that was truly full of back-and-forth action. In addition to the fair scoreline, the Netherlands were the more disciplined of the two sides.
Dirk Kuyt celebrated his 100th international appearance at the age of 33. With the humidity making it feel like it was more than 100 degrees, this man was running/jogging throughout the entire match on both ends of the ball. After this performance, it is no wonder why Louis van Gaal not only started him but is rumored to acquire his services for Manchester United. His work ethic is simply sensational for a man of his age.
Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder made a lot of noise with their passing, running and of course scoring from the latter. Robben won the penalty that won the game for his country at the end. Robin van Persie was off his game tonight, but will look to do some damage in the quarterfinals against either Greece or Costa Rica.
Mexico have now lost in six straight Round of 16 matches in the World Cup. They also dropped a game for the fourth time in the tournament’s history after scoring first. This is something that can be described as a curse, since the team played a great game and simply lost it all at the very end. Their best player was Giovanni dos Santos, who scored the only goal for the losing side with some individual brilliance.
Rafael Marquez becomes the villain once again. He was fired from the New York Red Bulls for pathetic antics and needless fouls, and now he ruined any chance his country had in this tournament. He should have let Robben cross the ball and take a chance to trust in his defensive partners. Dropping a guy at the end of the game is always too risky, hence the goal.
The Netherlands took advantage of the Mexican lead by creating so much danger inside the last half hour of the match. Mexico was treading on unfamiliar territory when they tried to hit on the counter against a team that plays with five at the back. They are all about building from the back and beating players with quick give-and-go passing with unlimited speed. Their new game plan ruined everything.
The quarterfinals will be truly special if the Dutch can find a way back into the semifinals, as they will be one step closer to returning to the world’s biggest final.