There are rules in the World Cup, and one of them is that Mexico never get past the round of 16. A bad match from the Netherlands for most of it didn’t matter in the end, as a brilliant goal from Gio Dos Santos wasn’t enough to hold onto the win, as a powerful equalizer from Wesley Sneijder and eventually an injury time penalty from Klaas Jan Huntelaar put the Dutch in the quarterfinals with a 2-1 win.
Sometimes managers and head coaches decide the match. Miguel Herrera turned away from the tactics and approach that worked well for him through this entire tournament and lost the match for it. Van Gaal remembered he has players who can play some attacking football and a striker named Huntelaar on the bench. He took out a weak Robin van Persie and benefited from it.
The first half wasn’t great, but Mexico were the more dangerous team. Dos Santos, Peralta and a fantastic match from Hector Herrera kept the Dutch confused and without effective possession in the middle of the pitch, rarely even coming close to giving Guillermo Ochoa any trouble. However, the first half ended in a goalless draw after 45 minutes and a break for water in the rough Fortaleza heat.
Giovani Dos Santos gave Mexico the goal they deserved, scoring a fantastic strike from 20 meters out, managing to shrug off the bad defending from the Dutch midfield. However, that goal, instead of pushing Mexico further towards the victory against a weaker team, changed their approach to a defensive and retreated one, costing them the win.
Memphis Depay came in, and helped turned the match around. Dirk Kuyt moved more forward to play like he usually does for the clubs, and Arjen Robben kept bothering the left side of the Mexican defense. Wesley Sneijder rocketed a shot with one of his sole contributions in the match, coming first to a rebound off a Robben corner. Mexico made all their substitutions, and couldn’t change, or wouldn’t.
Then came the moment Mexico will contest and complain about but it won’t matter. Arjen Robben is known for his diving, and made the most from the slight foul on him by Rafa Marquez. Still, it was a foul, and with a penalty in the 94th minute, Huntelaar sent the Netherlands into the quarterfinals.