FIFA World Cup 2014 Round of 16 Results: Netherlands vs. Mexico
By Christine Jane Caparras | June 30, 2014 3:34 PM EST
The Dutch have dodged a bullet and managed to book a spot in the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil after a thrilling match in Fortaleza. The Netherlands won over Mexico who led for most of the match only to be thwarted by very late goals by Wesley Sneijder and Klaas Jan Huntelaar.
Mexico's Guillermo Ochoa waves to the audience at the end of their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match against Brazil at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza, June 17, 2014.
Netherlands 2-1 Mexico
(Sneijder 88', Huntelaar 90'+PEN) (Dos Santos 48')
The first half opened with aggressive action on both ends of the pitch but neither one of the teams were able to break through. It was still anybody's game at the half despite numerous attacks from both teams. Ball possession throughout the match was also fairly even with the Dutch edging slightly ahead with 55% possession.
The deadlock was broken almost as soon as the second half started with a Giovani Dos Santos goal on the 48th minute to put Mexico ahead. The Dutch immediately went on attack mode and raised the intensity of the game instead of hanging their heads.
Several changes were made by the Netherlands in an attempt to turn things around including the exit of team Captain Robin Van Persie in favour of Klaas Jan Huntelaar in the 76th minute.
Time was quickly running out for the Dutch and Man of the Match Guillermo Ochoa who was manning Mexico's goal was put to the test several times with the Dutch making a total of 14 attempts with 8 on target. The Mexicans did not settle down to park the bus however and threatened to bury the Dutch even deeper in the ground with 12 attempts of their own, making Jasper Cillessen work hard at the other end.
The breakthrough came for the Netherlands with only two minutes in regulation time remaining. Wesley Sneijder found the back of the net when a corner was headed in his direction by Huntelaar and he volleyed the ball in leaving Ochoa no time to react.
It looked clear that extra time will be needed to decide the match until Arjen Robben was brought down by Rafael Marquez in the penalty area on stoppage time and the referee pointed to the spot. Huntelaar ensured that Van Persie would not be missed by stepping up to the plate to send Ochoa the wrong way and score the winning goal in the dying minutes of the game to complete Mexico's heartbreak.
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