Netherlands left it late but they secured a place in the last eight of the World Cup after a 2-1 win over Mexico.

  • By Michael Bell
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aaqThe heat in Fortaleza took its toll on the first half as Netherlands failed to make any in roads going forward, and instead looked to sit back and soak up pressure from Mexico. The only chance for Netherlands came in the final minutes of the first half as Robin van Persie capitalized on an error and set Robben in on goal, but after the winger was tripped in the box the referee waved play on.

In the second half Mexico got the reward for all their pressure as Giovanni dos Santos fired into the bottom corner from outside the box with an excellent strike.

This forced Louis van Gaal to change his tactics, and the Dutch went from 5-3-2 to 4-3-3, but as the clock ticked down it seemed Mexico were going to hold onto the win. Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was once again in inspired form as he blocked Stefan de Vrij’s point blank effort onto the post.

Van Gaal then brought off Robin van Persie and put Klaas jan Huntelaar up front which changed the game. On 88 minutes a cross was headed to the edge of the box by Huntelaar, and Wesley Sneijder was on hand to smash into the bottom corner and level.

Then in stoppage time Arjen Robben was brought down by Rafael Marquez, and Huntelaar kept his composure to fire in from the spot, and send Netherlands into the quarter finals.

Netherlands were far from their best, and rode their luck at times against a Mexico side who controlled large parts of the game, but they are in the quarter finals, and await the winner of Greece versus Costa Rica for a place in the semi finals.

All Dutch fans will have had their hearts in their mouths today, but Louis van Gaal’s boy got the job done again, mainly thanks to Klaas jan Huntelaar, who has taken his long awaited chance in this World Cup.

Hup Holland.


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