World Cup

Netherlands 2-1 Mexico

By Ben SmithBBC Sport in Fortaleza
World Cup 2014: Netherlands 2-1 Mexico highlights

The Netherlands produced an astonishing late comeback to rescue their World Cup dream and deny Mexico a first quarter-final in 28 years.

Substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored the decisive goal from the penalty spot in injury time after Arjen Robben was fouled by Mexico captain Rafael Marquez.


They had equalised in the 88th minute through Wesley Sneijder's thumping strike from the edge of the penalty area and with extra time beckoning, Robben won Louis van Gaal's side the spot-kick that took them into the quarter-finals.

It was a heartbreaking moment for the Mexicans, who had gone ahead just after half-time through Giovani Dos Santos, the former Tottenham and Barcelona player, who scored from 25 yards with a memorable strike.

At the final whistle at Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza, Mexico's players fell to the ground, unable to grasp how the game had slipped away.

For long periods they had out-thought and out-fought their more celebrated opponents as the Netherlands appeared to wilt in the stifling heat. Yet, when the final whistle blew, this would be marked down as Mexico's sixth successive loss in the second round of the World Cup, dating back to 1994.

The Dutch, in contrast, can look forward to the prospect of meeting Costa Rica or Greece in Salvador in the last eight.

The heat was a significant factor throughout. The spiralling temperatures, which reached 38.8C, meant that Fifa allowed two cooling breaks to take place. In parts of the stadium, fans struggled to take their seats because they were in direct sunlight, preferring to stand at the back and watch from an area of shade.

On the field there was no hiding place for either side. Mexico played with courage and cohesion, tempo and tenacity. They had the better of the first half, with Hector Herrera and the excellent Miguel Layun a constant thorn in the Netherlands' side.

Carlos Salcido tested goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen from distance, while Dos Santos forced another good save from a narrow angle.

The Netherlands were struggling in the conditions. Mexico looked more ambitious, more attack-minded. Van Gaal's side sat deep, defended in numbers - sometimes with a back seven - and looked happy to rely on the attacking brilliance of Robin van Persie and Robben. It was a plan that ultimately paid off, but not until very late on.

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera
Mexico coach Herrera celebrates his side's first goal

It was not until the second half that the Netherlands found their rhythm but by then they were behind. As in the first half, Mexico began the second period with a bang - Dos Santos gathered the ball 30 yards out, held off Daley Blind and thumped a wonderful left-foot shot into the bottom corner on the turn.

Mexico might have had another soon after as Marquez headed over from a corner. Could the Dutch respond?

Van Gaal moved away from a back five and pushed substitute Memphis Depay into a more attacking midfield role. It almost paid off for the Netherlands but the brilliance of Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa kept them at bay. Robben's corner was flicked on by Stefan de Vrij but the Mexico goalkeeper reacted instinctively to push the ball against the post and to safety.

Match facts
The Netherlands have now turned their last four World Cup games in which they fell behind in regular time (90 minutes, not including extra time) into victoriesWesley Sneijder has scored five goals in his last five World Cup knockout matches for the Netherlands
Mexico have failed to win any of their last seven knockout matches at the World CupArjen Robben has won five penalties in 14 Champions League and World Cup games this season

The Dutch poured forward in wave after wave of attacks. Robben felt he had won a penalty when he went to ground under a challenge by Layun but the referee waved play on. Ron Vlaar headed a Robben corner over the bar as time ticked on.

Just as the Dutch looked out on their feet, Sneijder rescued them, pouncing on a loose ball that had run back from a corner and firing an unerring shot low beyond Ochoa to change the game.

With 30 minutes of extra time looking likely, Robben raced into the right-hand edge of the penalty area. Marquez stuck out a boot and the Bayern Munich player went to ground for a penalty. Huntelaar kept his cool to put Netherlands through.

Netherlands fan
It was a colourful scene inside the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie, who has scored three goals at the World Cup, had a quiet game
Mexico players enjoy the cooling break
Mexico players enjoy the cooling break
Giovani dos Santos scores past Jasper Cillessen (pictured)
Dos Santos scored soon after the break - his shot giving Jasper Cillessen little chance
Guillermo Ochoa makes a save from Stefan de Vrij
Ochoa makes a brilliant save from De Vrij to keep the score at 1-0
Wesley Sneijder scores
Sneijder scores with an unstoppable half-volley to level for the Dutch
Klaas Jan Huntelaar celebrates his goal
Huntelaar missed his last three penalties in the Bundesliga - but made no mistake in Fortaleza



Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Cillessen
  • 12VerhaeghSubstituted forDepayat 56'minutes
  • 15Kuyt
  • 5Blind
  • 2Vlaar
  • 3de Vrij
  • 20Wijnaldum
  • 6de JongSubstituted forMartins Indiat 9'minutes
  • 10Sneijder
  • 9van PersieSubstituted forHuntelaarat 76'minutes
  • 11Robben


  • 4Martins Indi
  • 7Janmaat
  • 8de Guzmán
  • 13Veltman
  • 14Kongolo
  • 16Clasie
  • 17Lens
  • 18Fer
  • 19Huntelaar
  • 21Depay
  • 22Vorm
  • 23Krul


Formation 5-3-2

  • 13Ochoa
  • 22AguilarBooked at 69mins
  • 7Layún
  • 15MorenoSubstituted forReyesat 45'minutes
  • 4MárquezBooked at 90mins
  • 2Rodríguez
  • 6Herrera
  • 3Salcido
  • 10G dos SantosSubstituted forAquinoat 61'minutes
  • 19PeraltaSubstituted forHernándezat 75'minutes
  • 18GuardadoBooked at 90mins


  • 1J Corona
  • 5Reyes
  • 8Fabián
  • 9Jiménez
  • 11Pulido
  • 12Talavera
  • 14Hernández
  • 16Ponce
  • 17Brizuela
  • 20Aquino
  • 21Peña
Pedro Proença

Match Stats

Home TeamNetherlandsAway TeamMexico
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Netherlands 2, Mexico 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Netherlands 2, Mexico 1.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Netherlands 2, Mexico 1. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Netherlands) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

  4. Booking

    Andrés Guardado (Mexico) is shown the yellow card.

  5. Booking

    Rafael Márquez (Mexico) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  6. Post update

    Penalty Netherlands. Arjen Robben draws a foul in the penalty area.

  7. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Rafael Márquez (Mexico) after a foul in the penalty area.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Memphis Depay (Netherlands) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Wesley Sneijder.

  9. Post update

    Memphis Depay (Netherlands) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Paul Aguilar (Mexico).

  11. Goal!

    Goal! Netherlands 1, Mexico 1. Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar with a headed pass following a corner.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Netherlands. Conceded by Miguel Layún.

  13. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Memphis Depay (Netherlands) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Bruno Martins Indi.

  14. Post update

    Offside, Netherlands. Dirk Kuyt tries a through ball, but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is caught offside.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Netherlands. Conceded by Miguel Layún.

  16. Post update

    Arjen Robben (Netherlands) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Carlos Salcido (Mexico).

  18. Post update

    Foul by Bruno Martins Indi (Netherlands).

  19. Post update

    Javier Aquino (Mexico) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Carlos Salcido (Mexico) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Andrés Guardado.