Dutch break Mexican hearts

A stunning late turnaround gave Holland victory over Mexico in the World Cup Last 16 tie between the sides.

The Dutch were far from at their best for long spells in Fortaleza, but after Wesley Sneijder cancelled out Giovani Dos Santos' opener, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored a final minute penalty to break Mexican hearts and consign them to yet another exit at this stage of the tournament.

Robin Van Persie, as expected, returned to the Dutch starting 11, having missed his country’s previous match against Chile through suspension. He took his place alongside Arjen Robben in attack.

Paul Verghaegh also came in for Daryl Janmaat in Louis Van Gaal’s only other change from the team who took on the South Americans.

Mexico Coach Miguel Herrera meanwhile made an enforced change, bringing in Carlos Salcido in place of the suspended Jose Juan Vazquez.

The opening stages comprised mainly of the Dutch being happy to allow the Mexicans to dictate possession, before attempting to launch a counter-attack.

It proved a risky tactic as Herrera’s team looked lively from the off. Miguel Layun unleashed a couple of attempts from the left before Hector Herrera scuffed a shot just wide of Jasper Cillessen’s right-hand post.

They then had a strong penalty shout waved away. Herrera was caught in the face by a high boot from Ron Vlaar in the Dutch box, but referee Pedro Proenca was unmoved.

Owing to the baking heat in Fortaleza, the tournament’s first official drinks break was called on the half-hour mark, after which Holland enjoyed a better share of possession.

However, it was again the Mexicans who went closest to opening the scoring. Five minutes before half time, Giovani Dos Santos drilled in a low shot that was well kept out by Cillessen.

Van Gaal's team themselves had strong claims for a spot-kick turned down when Robben hit the deck in stoppage time, but it remained goalless at the break.

It didn't take long for this to change after the restart. Out of nothing, Villarreal man Dos Santos arrowed a powerful shot in from range that flew past Cillessen and into the bottom corner. It was third time lucky for the forward, who had two goals wrongly ruled out for offside earlier in the tournament.

The Dutch changed formation and brought on Memphis Depay in an attempt to respond. It almost reaped reward just before the hour mark, but Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa added to his growing reputation by somehow keeping out Stefan De Vrij's goalbound header from point blank range.

Moments later, Sneijder's effort was deflected just over as Van Gaal's side finally began to crank up some pressure.

Ochoa was again at his best 17 minutes from time. Robben tore into the penalty area and pulled the trigger with his right foot but the shot-stopper, who is currently withut a club, was out to smother the danger. 

In a surprise move, Van Gaal then chose to withdraw Van Persie in favour of Huntelaar as the Dutch made their final change.

They went very direct from then on, forcing their opponents further back, and a succession of corners finally bore fruit two minutes from time. The ball was knocked back to Sneijder lurking on the edge of the penalty, and he drilled home with an unstoppable effort.

Minutes later, an unbelievable comeback was complete when Robben was adjudged to have been tripped in the box by Mexico captain Rafa Marquez. Up stepped Huntelaar to fire home and book a quarter-final meeting with either Greece or Costa Rica

Holland 2 – 1 Mexico

Dos Santos 48 (M), Sneijder 88 (H), Huntelaar 90+4 p (H)

Holland: Cillessen; Blind, Vlaar, De Vrij, Verghaegh (Memphis 56); Wijnaldum, De Jong (Martins Indi 9), Kuyt; Sneijder; Van Persie (Huntelaar 76), Robben

Mexico: Ochoa; Rodriguez, Marquez, Moreno (Reyes 45); Aguilar, Herrera, Salcido, Guardado, Layun; Dos Santos (Aquina 61), Peralta (Hernandez 75)

Tags Holland Mexico World Cup 2014