After last night’s drama involving Brazil and then watching James Rodriguez score what could be the goal of the tournament, you would have thought that maybe the next match would have a little less drama, Holland and Mexico had other plans. The teams provided yet another enthralling encounter with the Dutch flying past the Mexicans, just about. The Mexicans started brightly and took a shock lead through a Giovanni Dos Santos wonder strike in the 48th minute and for 87 minutes, it seemed that Mexico would be progressing into the quarterfinals. Wesley Sneijder had other plans when he blasted a thunderbolt into the net and then with extra time looming, Mexican captain Marquez brought down Arjen Robben in the 93rd minute. Up stepped substitute Klaas Jan Huntelaar who slotted in the penalty and Mexico were out, even though they played their hearts out.
Here are the 5 talking points from the game.
From a farce to a force:
The Mexican team did almost everything to miss out on qualification to the World Cup. They needed two last minute goals from the US who beat Panama to send Mexico to the playoff against New Zealand. Miguel Herrera was appointed as an interim coach for the playoffs and then given the job permanently after the win. He has helped turn around this Mexican side into a bright attacking team. They might have sneaked into the World Cup but they have left it with a massive impression.
Sorry, could not resist the word play but Guillermo Ochoa was the stand out player for the Mexican team in this World Cup and was at his best against the Dutch as well. He pulled off a couple of miraculous saves to keep the Dutch out but it just was not enough. Ochoa was probably the best keeper in the World Cup so far and although he was released from his French club Ajaccio at the end of the season, there certainly will be a lot of takers for this talented goalkeeper.
The heat finally catches up:
There was a lot of talk before the tournament of the weather in Brazil. With high temperatures and humidity expected, this match in Fortaleza certainly took its toll on both the teams. The referee called for two drinks break, one in each half so that both teams could cool down and take in some fluids. The conditions seemed to affect the Dutch more than the Mexicans, the Dutch were quite slow off the blocks but ultimately they did win the game but the weather is one factor which did play up and it may do in the other fixtures as well.
Robben gets the job done, controversially:
Arjen Robben was the terror which the Spanish could not deal with but was largely ineffective in this game. The Mexican defense marshaled him well and kept him quiet throughout the game. That was until he won a debatable penalty in the 93rd minute which left Mexican fans with broken hearts. Replays showed minimal contact and Robben did make the most of it, prior to that there was another incident where Robben made contact in the box to try and win a penalty, he fell down but no action was taken against him. Robben was at his best but not in the way people expected.
The Dutch had the Klaas to win:
Whether it was a masterstroke or a change forced due to injury, bringing on Klaas Jan Huntelaar in place of Robin Van Persie did raise a few eyebrows, not because Klaas does not have class but that you would need two strikers at least when you are chasing the game. With Van Persie substituted, you would have thought that Sneijder or Robben would take that 93rd minute penalty but Klaas showed he was made of stern stuff as he coolly slotted home the winner for the Dutch. He was removed from taking penalties from his club Schalke but no nerves for the hunter tonight, the Flying Dutchmen continue onwards and upwards.