Mexico held on to a narrow 1-0 lead for 88 minutes of the match, but in the end the Orange Machine found away to expose El Tri 10 man defense, and came back to win 2-1.
Byline: Jorge Belon, Editor in Chief
FORTALEZA– On a extremely sunny day where two water breaks were called during the game, the Netherlands found away to climb back and win the game late 2-1 on Sunday morning.
A cool calm penalty scored in the first minute of stoppage in the second half, from substitute Dutch forward Klass-Jan Huntelaar, will haunt the Mexican national team for the next four years. Huntelaar powerfully place the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net, to give Holland the 2-1 victory in the 93 minute.
“They never stopped believing, right to the end,” Netherlands Coach Louis van Gaal told FIFA.com after the game. ” They showed belief and a lot of confidence. We took advantage of the water break to tweak our system and created loads of chances, some of them denied by the woodwork and others by a keeper who has been fantastic.”
Regardless, that the Mexican Coach Miguel Herrera, believes that Mexico lost this game because of the referee bad decision to award Holland a penalty, the real reason behind this lost was because of the 180 change of style in play that happened right when play maker Giovanni dos Santos was subbed out of the game at the 61 minute of the match.
Before that happen, Mexico was running the Dutch into to the ground. Mexico offense was alive and it was looking the most dangerous it had so far in the World Cup. In the first half, El Tri made Holland chase them from the second the game started. The European team who admitted that they are not use to this weather where having a hard time just to keep up with the Mexican offense.
However, even though the Mexican offense was running wild in the first half, they still got a huge break right before halftime when a penalty that should of been awarded to the Dutch was ignored. Arjen Robben was about to get by two defenders in the penalty box and get a one on one opportunity with Mexican standout goalie Guillermo Ochoa. But before he could break through he was ankle was clipped first from Mexican Captain Rafael Márquez and then a second later Héctor Moreno would slide tackle him and miss the ball. There were no whistles for the penalty, but a few minutes later half time came and the game was tied 0-0, and the Mexican were dominating.
At the start of the second half Dos Santos would get Mexico on the scoreboard, and one step closer of getting back to the quarterfinals for the first time since the World Cup in 1986, that was hosted in Mexico.
In the 48 minute the Mexican play maker, controlled a bouncing ball right out side the penalty box, he took a couple steps towards the box. Shrugging of a Dutch defender in the process, he created a brief opening to take a shot. Dos Santos did not hesitate and blasted a shot to the right hand corner of the goal, giving Netherlands goalie Jasper Cillessen no chance in stopping Dos Santos bullet. The Mexicans took the shocking 1-0 lead over the heavy favorite Dutch.
El Tri were still keeping the Dutch on their toes, until the engine of the team Dos Santos left the game at the 61 minute. Whether he was tired or just a change of a game plan, the momentum of the game was about to change.
After he left, the Mexican attack disappeared and the Dutch began to rebuild and caught their second wind in the process. El Tri resulted to counters as they attempted hold of their narrow lead for the reminder of the match. Before the change, Ochoa was not busy at all in the first half, but in the second half he was called into action multiple times and came through with magnificent point blank reaction saves, but in the end Mexico would want to much from their goalie.
Two minutes left in the game, and Mexico still had the 1-0 lead over the Dutch. A long corner that flew to Huntelaar, it seemed that play was dead and Mexico survived another close encounter in the second half . The substitute forward was in bad area to head the ball in the net, so he head the ball back into the center of the net. Where Wesley Sneijder would run to the bouncing ball, and send a laser to the bottom left hand corner of the net, tying the game at one goal apiece in the 88 minute.
Ochoa and the rest of the Mexican defense, did not even see Sneijder volley until the ball hit the back of the net, the Dutch had came to life with that goal, and they were not looking to go extra time against Mexico, and risk the Mexican to find their rhythm again.
A few minutes later after Robben completed another dangerous into the penalty box, Márquez would stick out his leg in the penalty box and make a slight contact with the Bayer Munich winger leg, but it was enough contact for the referee to blow his whistle and call a penalty in favor of the dutch. The new 100 cap man, Huntelaar would step up and crush the spirit of the Mexicans, when his powerful penalty entered the goal with just three minutes left in the game.
“It’s amazing, a special day for me,” Huntelaar told FIFA.com. “To become the seventh player in the history of Dutch football to reach 100 caps, and to finish the game like that, is amazing. I’m a very proud person; I’m very proud of the team and the team spirit. We kept fighting until the end and we’re very happy with the result.”
The Netherlands will be moving after this dramatic comeback, and they will be facing another for from CONCACAF. They will be facing the Costa Rica in the quarterfinals on Saturday, July 5 at Salvador. As for the Mexicans they will be heading home after this heartbreaking elimination, though there spirits are still strong after this defeat.
“No way at all,” Ochoa. “We could have won this game but you have to admit that the Dutch have great players. We lost because of footballing reasons, not psychological ones.”
Highlight to this match can be seen on this link http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=intl:1921547, video provided by ESPN FC.