Tables & Results

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Sun - Jun 29 12:00 pm


StadiumEstádio Castelão


Jasper Cillessen
Ron Vlaar
Stefan de Vrij
Paul Verhaegh
Wesley Sneijder
Arjen Robben
Nigel de Jong
Daley Blind
Georginio Wijnaldum
Dirk Kuyt
Robin van Persie
Guillermo Ochoa
Carlos Salcido
Rafael Márquez
Andrés Guardado
Francisco Javier Rodríguez
Héctor Moreno
Paul Aguilar
Miguel Layún
Héctor Herrera
Giovani dos Santos
Oribe Peralta


It was a cruel way to lose.

Mexico led the heavily favored Netherlands team, 1-0, with three minutes left in the World Cup Round of 16 match.

Then the boom lowered. After an astonishing performance by Mexican keeper, Memo Ochoa, Wesley Sneijder finally broke through for the Netherlands from the top of the penalty area, he boomed the ball into the left-hand corner, tying the game.

It had been that way for much of the second half, as the Mexicans were flagging and the Dutch were just getting warmed up.

The Portuguese referee, Pedro Proenca, who blew a number of calls during the match, then called for 6 minutes of injury time - far more than seemed appropriate and more than during the first half, when a Mexican player, defender Hector Moreno, had to be carted off the field.

Two minutes into the extra time, Mexico's most veteran player, Rafa Marquez, made a big-time blunder, fouling Arjen Robben and setting up Klaas Jan Huntelaar's game-winning penalty kick.

Throughout the Cup, Holland has started games slowly, falling behind Spain 1-0, and heading into halftime tied with all three of their previous opponents - Spain (1-1), Australia (1-1) and Chile (0-0).

But whether it's conditioning or being better able to pace their play, the Dutch have done the bulk of their offensive damage in the second half (8 goals for, 1 against).

So it was cause for optimism, but only of a muted sort, that Mexico was able to dominate the early going, creating the best opportunities in the first 25 minutes.

The temperature in Fortaleza was in the high 80s, and the Proenca called breaks in each half so that the players could drink water and cool off for a few minutes.

There were two dubious non-calls that probably should have been awarded penalty kicks, one in which Mexico's Hector Herrera got kicked in the face, the other a two-player takedown that left Holland's Arjen Robben limping slightly.

It was a scoreless tie at the half.

Three minutes into the second period, however, Mexico's Giovanni dos Santos rifled a left footed shot across his body and just beyond the sprawled arms of Dutch keeper Jasper Cillessen.

On a corner kick in the 57th minute, Stefan de Vrij took a point-black shot on Mexico's goal, but Ochoa got his hands on it, deflected the ball to a post, and it bounced out.

But, in an omen of things to come, the Netherlands started getting the better of the action after that, maintaining possession and attacking more effectively.

Ochoa stopped Robben one-on-one in the 73rd minute. In fact, Ochoa was able to handle everything the Dutch side threw at him - even on a clear offsides situation off a free kick.

Until Sneijder finally broke through, that is.

For Mexico, it was the sixth consecutive time the team has reached the Round of 16 and no further. El Tri reached the quarterfinals in 1970 and 1986, both World Cups held in Mexico.

Even so, there was relief and pride for Mexico fans that the team was able to get as far as it did despite barely qualifying for World Cup.

The Netherlands, which lost the 2010 Final to Spain, next plays the winner of the Costa Rica-Greece game on July 5.

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