WORLD CUP – Round of 16: Netherlands complete stunning comeback to see off Mexico

Netherlands have progressed to the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on the back of a dramatic 2-1 victory over Mexico in Fortaleza.

Netherlands have progressed to the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on the back of a dramatic 2-1 victory over Mexico in Fortaleza.

On an extremely hot day for football in the north of Brazil, the Dutch conceded early in the second half and looked destined for an early exit before two goals in six minutes at the death rescued them from the brink.

Goals from Wesley Sneijder and Klass Jan Huntelaar have allowed Louis van Gaal’s Oranje to move through to the final eight while Miguel Herrera’s El Tri can be right to feel disappointed after looking the better of the two sides for much of the 90 minutes.

Mexico were the dominant side in the first half and their attacking pressure paid dividends when Giovani dos Santos fired home from range in the 48th minute.

The Villarreal man controlled the ball with his chest before holding off Daley Blind and then hitting a lovely left-footed half-volley past Jasper Cillessen and inside the Dutch keeper’s left post.

After creating little in their final third in the first 45 minutes, the Dutch were forced to make some changes in the second term with van Gaal bringing off captain Robin van Persie for Huntelaar which proved to be a masterstroke.

Holland were probing for much of the final 25 minutes and managed to level in the 88th minute when Sneijder produced a rocketing finish from inside the area.

A floated corner from the right was headed back into play by Huntelaar which landed perfectly for Sneijder to hit a superb half-volley inside Guillermo Ochoa’s right post after the Mexico keeper had been near impenetrable beforehand.

The Dutch then completed a stunning comeback in the second minute of injury-time when Rafael Marquez was penalised for a tackle on Robben which led to the Bayern Munich winger flinging himself to the ground in customary fashion.

Referee Pedro Proenca had no hesitations in pointing to the spot – when the penalty could have as easily not been given – allowing Huntelaar to step up and send Ochoa the wrong way with a perfect penalty.

Holland will now play the winner of this evening’s Costa Rica v Greece game in the quarter-finals in Salvador on July 5 while a shell-shocked Mexico will be wondering how they imploded so quickly after controlling plenty of the contest to bow out in the Round of 16 for a sixth consecutive World Cup.

2014 FIFA World Cup – Round of 16

Netherlands: 2 (Wesley Sneijder 88’, Klaas Jan Huntelaar (p) 90+4’)
Mexico: 1 (Giovani dos Santos 48’)

Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza – 58,817

Yellow cards: NED - nil
MEX - Paul Aguilar 69’, Rafael Marquez 90+2’, Andres Guardado 90+3’

 
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