After going through a grueling group stage battle, Mexico and the Netherlands will now duke it out for a spot in the quarterfinal on Sunday at Estádio Castelão in Fortaleza, Brazil.
What's at Stake?
*Mexico will try to make it into the next round, despite a roller-coaster World Cup qualifying journey. Despite booking the last spot in Brazil, Mexico exceeded everybody's expectation by beating Cameroon 1-0, Croatia 3-1 and played to a nil-nil draw with Brazil in the group stage.
*Netherlands, on the other hand, looks to continue their prolific run that saw them scoring 10 goals in three games. Netherlands dominated Spain 5-1 in the opener before beating the Aussies 3-2 and Chile 2-0 to wrap up the Group B leadership. A victory against the Mexicans will catapult Holland three wins away from redeeming themselves after they bombed out during the winding minutes of their game with Spain in the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Injury and Suspension Update
*Mexico will be playing at full strength ahead of their do-or-die showdown with the Dutch. Guillermo Ochoa appears to be in good condition, while 35-year old Rafael Marquez is still a force to be reckon with on both ends of the field after holding his own against Croatia and scoring a crucial goal in that game.
*The Netherlands will get back the service of its main scoring assassin in Robin Van Persie, who was suspended in the final group stage game against Chile. The Manchester United already scored three goals in the tournament and everybody believes the Flying Dutchman still has more to show in Brazil
Mexico (Possible, 5-3-2): Ochoa; Aguilar, Moreno, Marquez, Rodriguez, Layun; Guardado, Vazquez, Herrera; Dos Santos, Peralta.
Holland (Possible, 4-4-2): Cillessen; Janmaat, Vlaar, De Vrij, Martins Indi; Blind, De Guzman, Sneijder, De Jong; Van Persie, Robben.
Many football analysts predicted a brutal war between Mexico and Netherlands as both teams try to extend their respective campaign in Brazil. Mexico has shown they have to fighting spirit to defy all adversities, but the Netherlands' striking force will be too much for them to contain. Van Persie, Sneijder and Robben will come right to them like a bullet train, sending a statement that they are back to reclaim lost glory.
Prediction: 4-1 win for Netherlands